Published: Thu, May 17, 2018
Medicine | By Melba Vasquez

First batch of Ebola vaccines arrive DRC

First batch of Ebola vaccines arrive DRC

The outbreak, publicly declared on May 8, had previously been reported in a rural area of Equateur that lies roughly 150 kilometers from Mbandaka.

The U.N. World Health Organization will convene an Emergency Committee on Friday to consider the global risks of an Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier said on Thursday.

The WHO is anxious about the disease reaching the city of Mbandaka with a population of about 1 million people, which would make the outbreak far harder to tackle.

It is also a major transportation hub.

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World Health Organization estimates that no less than 39 suspected, probable or confirmed cases of Ebola have been recorded in the DRC between April 4 and May 13.

Those exposed to the suspected Ebola cases will for the first time in Congo receive Ebola vaccinations, the health minister said.

He said scientists are working to identify the number of people who may have had contact with the virus, on top of the 500 already identified.

The World Health Organization, which earlier this week deployed 4,000 doses of experimental vaccine along with emergency teams and equipment to the DRC to control the outbreak, described the situation as "a concerning development". "So it means this first shipment would be probably enough for around 25-26 rings - each around one confirmed case".

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The experimental vaccine has been shown to be highly effective against Ebola.

Yes. In West Africa's massive Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone that began in 2014 and left more than 11,300 dead, the virus entered the capital cities in all three impoverished nations. The vaccine is thought to be effective against the Zaire strain of Ebola found in Congo. "And we are taking it very seriously", Dr. Ibrahima-Soce Fall, WHO regional emergency director for Africa, said Monday when two cases were suspected in Mbandaka and being kept in isolation. It will be reserved for people suspected of coming in contact with the disease.

So far, 23 deaths have been recorded in the Democratic Republic of Congo's latest Ebola outbreak, the ninth since the disease made its first-known appearance near its northern Ebola river in the 1970s.

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Humans can be infected by other humans if they come in contact with body fluids from an infected person or contaminated objects from infected persons. Symptoms include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain and at times internal and external bleeding.

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