Published: Sat, May 26, 2018
Medicine | By Brett Sutton

Congo begins Ebola vaccination campaign as number of cases rise to 35

Congo begins Ebola vaccination campaign as number of cases rise to 35

That brings the total to 28 confirmed Ebola cases, 21 probable ones and nine suspected.

A vaccination campaign is already under way in Mbandaka, the city of 1.2 million on the Congo River where four Ebola cases have been confirmed.

The WHO chief also underlined that the coordination among global health partners was essential, too, before highlighting that even he had problems in accessing rural Bikoro to see the problem first-hand, during his visit to the area shortly after the beginning of the outbreak. Although there are five subtypes of Ebola, only three have been confirmed in Africa over time.

World Health Organization also is accelerating efforts with nine countries neighbouring Congo to try to prevent the Ebola outbreak from spreading there, saying the regional risk is high. There have been 27 deaths, it added.

The World Health Organisation has received widespread praise for its quick response to an Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, although observers warn prevention and information to affected communities remain insufficient.

USA action is generally credited as a key factor in containing the virus that caused the Ebola outbreak in one of the poorest parts of the world.

"In previous outbreaks in DRC, community communication has proven to be crucial in terms of the effectiveness of the response to Ebola", said Yves Willemot, a UNICEF spokesman.

"The health minister can be found at this moment in Bikoro for assessing the preparations for the vaccination campaign", Ilunga said.

Both patients were vomiting and infectious and died hours after the prayer session in the river port city of Mbandaka, Dr. Jean-Clement Cabrol, emergency medical coordinator for Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), said.

"We haven't even done the Phase 1 yet", Fauci told Reuters, but added that he was "happy to do it", as long at the trial is done in collaboration with WHO.

The treatment is made from the antibodies of the survivor of an Ebola outbreak in Kikwit, Congo, in 1995.

Members of a Red Cross team don protective clothing before heading out to look for suspected victims of Ebola, in Mbandaka, Congo.

The disease, which is transmitted through direct contact with blood or bodily fluids belonging to infected people or animals, is widely feared for its destructive internal and external bleeding due to the virus causing severe damage to blood vessels.

In December 2014, a German-led team of scientists determined that the world's biggest Ebola epidemic could be traced to a colony of free-tailed bats that lived in a hollow tree in a remote village in Guinea. Proper use of the vaccine relies on identifying every person who may have come into contact with an infected individual, then working outward from there in what experts call "rings" of people, which includes contacts of contacts. In some cases, the virus is spread through contact with someone who has died from the disease. But the virus has spread to an urban area in DR Congo, sparking fears that it could prove hard to control.

That message was repeated in Geneva by Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, who praised the commitment and sacrifice of the communities and health workers on the front line, as "the most important element in fighting this outbreak".

He said some 10,000 people should be vaccinated within the next month.

The report also pointed out that though the DRC situation isn't as dire as West Africa in 2014, the U.S. government hasn't designated a leader for its worldwide outbreak response activities.

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