Experimental Ebola vaccine to be used in Congo's outbreak, World Health Organization head says

Experimental Ebola vaccine to be used in Congo's outbreak, World Health Organization head says

Henrietta Brewer
May 14, 2018

The Democratic Republic of Congo said that there were 39 suspected, probable, or confirmed cases of Ebola between April 4 and May 13, which included 19 deaths, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed on Monday.

The Democratic Republic of Congo and United Nations agencies began deploying emergency teams of specialists over the weekend to try to prevent the spread of an Ebola epidemic suspected to have infected more than 30 people, they said on Sunday.

Concise News gathered that the outbreak was first confirmed by the organisation on May 8 with the two cases occurring at Bikoro health zone, Equateur province.

DR Congo authorities on Tuesday described the Ebola outbreak as a "public health emergency with global impact".

Furthermore, fruit bats are considered to be the main host of the disease, some analysts say, but it is also introduced into humans through close contact with the blood, organs or other bodily fluids of other infected animals, such as gorillas, antelope and porcupines.

"Response teams on the ground are in the process of verifying information on reported cases".

WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus visited Bikoro on Sunday and positively assessed the speed with which the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo declared the outbreak. The agency is now deploying 50 public health experts to support the Ministry of Health with various "response activities", the statement added. The cases are being reported from remote locations that are hard to access.

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.

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