WHO to know soon if new Congo Ebola outbreak can use vaccine

05 Août, 2018, 19:13 | Auteur: Yves Courtet
  • Health workers at an Ebola safety zone in a health centre in Iyonda DRC

The virus was first discovered in 1976 and since then the 2014-2016 outbreak which spread in West Africa was the largest and the most complex of the Ebola outbreaks till date.

According to the health ministry, the latest outbreak has already claimed the lives of 20 people, including two health workers and comes only nine days after an outbreak in the western part of the country, in Equateur province, was officially declared over.

The organization's emergency response chief, Peter Salama, expressed concern about the regional risks this outbreak could pose - given the pattern of its spread and its closeness to global frontiers.

On July 29, a previous outbreak on the other side of the Central African country was declared over after killing 33 people.

Ebola is caused by a virus which results in a hemorrhagic fever that in extreme cases causes fatal bleeding from internal organs, the mouth, eyes or ears.

United Kingdom aid agency CAFOD is already working alongside local partners in the area and has contacted specialists in Caritas Congo who responded to the Ebola outbreak in Equateur province. These new cases are in Mangina area in the territory of Beni, province of North Kivu, more than 1,553 miles from the recent outbreak.

"It would appear that the risk, as we can surmise for DRC, is high. She had fever, vomiting, bloody nose and bloody diarrhoea as her final set of symptoms".

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The kind of Ebola in the latest outbreak has been confirmed as the Zaire strain that the Merck vaccine protects against.

Health officials have given new details about how the latest outbreak came to light.

A World Health Organization team has arrived in the war-torn region to try to contain the spread of the virus.

Dr. Salama explained how longstanding conflict in Eastern DRC - involving more than 100 armed groups in the Kivu area and elsewhere - created an additional level of difficulty in trying to contain the deadly disease.

The Ministry has also reactivated surveillance teams and task forces at Uganda's different border points with Congo to control movements and conduct screening for those entering the country.

"We know... that there have been 20 deaths, but we can't at this stage confirm whether they are confirmed or probable Ebola cases", he told a press conference in Geneva, Switzerland.

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