How fridges are helping Congo fight a resurgence of Ebola

Leslie Hanson
August 8, 2018

Health workers will begin administering vaccinations Wednesday to combat a new Ebola outbreak that has already claimed dozens of lives in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the country's health ministry said.

DR Congo's health ministry has said the new vaccination campaign will target health care providers, contacts of confirmed Ebola cases and their contacts, the same strategy that was used to contain the previous outbreak in Equateur province in which more than 3,300 people were vaccinated. Three healthcare workers were also infected, one of them among the dead.

"We can start using rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine as early as tomorrow", he said in a tweet.

The experimental vaccine, which is manufactured by Merck, proved successful during its first wide-scale usage against the outbreak in the northwest.

The virus, believed to be carried long distances by bats, poses a high regional risk, World Health Organization has said, noting that Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi and South Sudan share borders with eastern Congo.

"In total, 43 cases of haemorrhagic fever have been reported in the region, including 16 confirmed and 27 probable, and 31 suspected cases are under investigation", the ministry said. A United Nations peacekeeping mission known as MONUSCO is assessing the situation and has sent "security-enhanced vehicles" for possible use in the vaccination program, he said.

The latest flare-up was announced one week after Congo's government declared the end of another outbreak in northwestern Congo that is believed to have killed 33 people as well.

World Health Organization has said 3,000 doses of the vaccine are still in DR Congo's capital, Kinshasa, and that it can access up to 300,000 more on short notice.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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