Health Care

World Health Organization to ship Ebola vaccine to DR Congo

World Health Organization to ship Ebola vaccine to DR Congo”

During the last outbreak there in 2017, the country's ninth overall, four people died.

"We're concerned because this is a city of one million people", she said.

Tedros travelled to Congo over the weekend and flew to the remote area, still only accessible by motorbike or helicopter, where the deadly hemorrhagic disease has broken out. "We think that if all the control teams are at the epidemic site we can control this epidemic in two to three months".

The current outbreak is unrelated to the one in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone that killed more than 11,000 people in 2014 and 2015.

Director-General of WHO, Tedros Ghebreyesus disclosed this to newsmen on Monday. Bikoro's airstrip can't yet accommodate even small planes, so the initial response will rely on United Nations helicopters. A 2016 study found it to be 100% effective in trials in Guinea in coordination with the country's Ministry of Health after the 2014-15 outbreak. "We need to be prepared for all scenarios", he added.

The disease - most feared for the internal and external bleeding it can cause in its victims due to damage done to blood vessels - has already spread to three separate locations covering 60 km (37 miles) or more in Equateur province.

A further 362 people at risk have been identified using contact tracing, said Dr. Ibrahima-Soce Fall, WHO regional emergency director for Africa.

The UN agency is working with the country's Ministry of Health and global nongovernmental organization M-decins Sans Fronti-res to conduct ring vaccinations across the affected region, where contacts of those infected, followed by contacts of those contacts, would all be vaccinated. Five samples were collected from five patients and two have been confirmed by the laboratory.

Congo's government has authorized the World Health Organization to use the VSV vaccine, which was trialed successfully in Guinea in 2015. "The vaccines are going to arrive on Wednesday or Thursday".

The WHO said on Friday it hopes to deploy an experimental Ebola vaccine to tackle an outbreak.

But this epidemic's proximity to the Congo River, a major transport route and lifeline both to Congo's capital Kinshasa and to neighbouring Congo Republic's capital Brazzaville, makes it more likely the virus could break out into a wider area. The WHO has put Congo's nine neighboring countries on high alert, especially the Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic due to their connected river systems.

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