WHO To Send Ebola Vaccine To DR Congo

WHO To Send Ebola Vaccine To DR Congo

WHO To Send Ebola Vaccine To DR Congo

However, two cases have so far been confirmed as Ebola. This outbreak marks the ninth known time Ebola has broken out in the DRC.

Thirty-nine reported cases, including at least 18 deaths - that's the latest Ebola count from Monday, May 14.

"We have the advantage of having this epidemic in a very remote area where travelling isn't easy", said Jean-Jacques Muyembe-Tamfum, director-general of the National Institute for Biomedical Research, based in the capital, Kinshasa.

"We still dispose of the well-trained human resources that were able to rapidly control previous epidemics".

The viral disease, which has no known cure although a vaccine has been successfully trialled, was first reported in 1976 in the Congo.

News of the outbreak brings to mind the terror of the epidemic that killed 11,000 people and infected 28,000 in West Africa between 2014 and 2016.

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Last week, Peter Salama, deputy director-general of emergency preparedness and response at the World Health Organization, pointed out that use of the vaccine comes with many challenges, as it needs to be stored long-term at temperatures between minus 60 and minus 80 degrees Celsius (minus 76 to minus 112 Fahrenheit).

Bikoro's airstrip can not yet accommodate even small aircraft, so the initial response will rely on United Nations helicopters. However, it is being taken very seriously given the recent history of Ebola outbreaks and proximity of this area to the Congo River, linking local populations to the major cities of Kinshasa, Brazzaville and Bangui. "We are planning for all scenarios, including the worst scenario". Three healthcare workers are reportedly also sickened with the disease. To date, 393 contacts have been identified and are being followed-up, World Health Organization said. Seventeen of those 21 infected people died.

Two probable cases (positive on rapid diagnostic test) were reported on 13 May 2018. Mobile laboratories arrived in Bikoro on May 12 and have started testing suspected carriers.

Yesterday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, MD, traveled to the DRC, and he tweeted about visiting a hospital in Bikoro and observing the outbreak response. By Wednesday or Thursday, the vaccines in Geneva will be sent to the DRC, said Tedros.

Moeti said 362 contacts had been traced of those who had fallen sick - a necessary precursor to deploying the vaccines. "This is a highly complex sophisticated operation in one of the most hard terrains on Earth", Salama said.

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