Published: Thu, August 09, 2018
Medicine | By Brett Sutton

Four more dead from Ebola in DR Congo

Four more dead from Ebola in DR Congo

Health authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo yesterday (Monday) said that they would begin Ebola vaccinations on Wednesday in the east of the country, where a new outbreak of the virus is believed to have killed 33 people.

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

In the DRC's last outbreak in western Equateur province, there were also "massive logistical constraints", says Mr Jašarević. Although the massive refugee population makes identification, isolation, and treatment more hard, the country's health ministry announced that 879 people who have had contact with Ebola patients have so far been identified.

"In total, 43 cases of haemorrhagic fever have been reported in the (Beni) region, including 16 confirmed and 27 probable, and 46 suspected cases are under investigation", the ministry said Tuesday.

Still, hurdles remain in administering the remaining vaccine doses.

Dr Derek Gatherer, a virologist from Lancaster University, warned the outbreak earlier this summer was "reminiscent" of the 2014 Ebola pandemic.

It said Ebola Virus Disease rapid diagnostic tests have been provided to the Uganda Virus Research Institute in Entebbe.

"This is an active conflict zone". The major barrier will be safely accessing the affected population'.

The newest outbreak, confirmed by the World Health Organization on Sunday, is located in the Congo's northeastern North Kivu Province and neighboring Ituri Province.

One of the biggest difficulties is geographical this time around: North Kivu Province borders Rwanda and Uganda, hosts more than 1 million displaced people, and has been the scene of intermittent fighting for decades. "The bad news is that this is the deadliest variant, with a case fatality rate of over 50 per cent", said WHO's Head of Emergencies, Peter Salama, at a briefing in Geneva, Switzerland, on 5 August.

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