Published: Sat, May 12, 2018
Medicine | By Melba Vasquez

WHO to use vaccine to stem Ebola outbreak in Congo

WHO to use vaccine to stem Ebola outbreak in Congo

"There are very few paved roads, very little electrification, access is extremely hard". However, there is an airstrip 8 km from Bikoro. The WHO estimates that the 3-month air bridge cost to be $2.4 million. Serge Ngaleto, the director of Bikoro's main hospital said it had received four new suspected cases on Thursday, including two nurses who had treated others showing symptoms.

The outbreak in DR Congo resulted in 19 suspected cases out of which 16 died.

Peter Salama, deputy director-general of emergency preparedness and response at the World Health Organization, said in Geneva, Switzerland, on Friday that it's "going to be tough and it's going to be costly to stamp out this outbreak". "The village at the heart of the current outbreak is remote by land but it is on a major river with access to major population centers via the water route". The virus can also be spread through sexual contact.

In bats, Ebola probably doesn't cause much disease, but when it spreads to humans and other apes, Ebola can cause a very serious fever with a high chance of death.

The worst Ebola epidemic in history ended in West Africa just two years ago after killing more than 11,300 people and infected some 28,600 as it rolled through Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

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Unless remediated immediately, the number of deaths for this outbreak could increase.

Sicily Kariuki said 100 health workers have been deployed at JKIA to screening with about 260 officers put on standby across the country to help in monitoring the situation. "At all levels, this has been taken as the highest priority".

The organisation has a team on the ground and is preparing to send up to 40 more specialists to the region in the coming week or so.

"WHO staff were in the team that first identified the outbreak. It's completely different", Fall said, adding that this response was also faster than that in Congo previous year.

"To give you a sense, we are talking about an area that is 280 kilometers even from the provincial capital of Equateur", he said. We probably won't know for sure what went wrong in this outbreak, but blame has been placed on the slow response of the worldwide community, the fragility of the region's health services, and the failure of public health campaigns to reach all people.

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The Health Ministry has also set up a National Emergency Council tasked with placing measures to curb hazardous diseases from spreading to the country.

One million United States dollars from the World Health Organization contingency fund for emergencies have been mobilized.

The WHO is still waiting on approval from the DRC to use the experimental Ebola vaccine, but plans for deployment are already under way as officials wait for a formal decision from the country's health ministry.

Gavi has an emergency stockpile of 300,000 doses.

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