World Health Organization to ship Ebola vaccine to DR Congo

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This is the DRC's ninth Ebola outbreak since the discovery of the virus in the country in 1976.

The WHO first learned of the outbreak May 8, when Congo's Ministry of Health confirmed two cases of Ebola in the town of Bikoro, now the epicenter of the outbreak and located in the country's Equateur province, which has a population of about 2.5 million people. However, the proximity of the affected area to the Congo River, which links to the Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic, increases the risk of cases occurring in neighboring countries.

WHO officials noted that the outbreak is now rated a "high" public health risk at the national level, "moderate" at the regional level, and "low" risk at the worldwide level, with assessments ongoing. The world health body said 393 people who identified as contacts of Ebola patients were being followed up.

DRC is recording the latest cases of the virus after over a year since the outbreak killed four people.


In a statement released on Sunday, WHO announced that they will be providing resources to the area in order to combat the virus.

Health workers may have a new weapon in their arsenal to fight the current epidemic: the Merck-manufactured rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine. The Guinea field trial in 2016 found the vaccine to be 100 percent effective at preventing infection among the 6,000 people who received it.

However, in a BBC article written by Dr. Charlie Weller, Head of Vaccines for Wellcome Trust, the containment of the Ebola virus is possible through "a swift and well-co-ordinated response". The vaccine is safe and efficacious and has already been tested.

W.H.O Africa director Matshidiso Moeti told reporters that the vaccinations will start as early as this week to deal with an outbreak in the DRC.


On Sunday, a World Health Organization delegation including the agency's director, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Gehbreyesus, visited the town of Bikoro, the center of the current outbreak.

There is no specific treatment for Ebola, which is spread through the bodily fluids of people exhibiting symptoms.

In regards to human-to-human contact, the organisation says that healthy individuals should use gloves and proper equipment when in contact with infected individuals. The virus is not spread through the air or by water.

The signs and symptoms of Ebola diseases include fever, severe headache, joint and muscle pain, diarrhoea, vomiting, abdominal pain.


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