Friday, 22 February, 2019

Teams all set for crucial Ebola vaccination in DR Congo

The latest flare-up was announced one week after Congo’s government declared the end of another outbreak in northwestern Congo Teams all set for crucial Ebola vaccination in DR Congo
Melissa Porter | 09 August, 2018, 01:12

The WHO says the same expert team that led the the vaccination program during a recent Ebola outbreak in Congo's Equateur province will be deployed to the cities of Beni and Mangina in North Kivu province, where Ebola was detected last week.

The vaccine is experimental, but was used on a wide scale to combat the outbreak in northwestern Congo that was declared over two weeks again (July 24).

"The objective of this communication is therefore to request you to enhance your surveillance systems and preparedness and have a high index of suspicion for Ebola, urgently report any alerts to Public Health Emergency Operation Centre on Toll free phone line 0800203033 and/ or Ministry of Health on 0800100066", Dr. Mwebesa noted.

Oly Ilunga Kalenga says in a statement that at least four Ebola deaths are confirmed.

Nearly 900 "contacts" - meaning people who may have come into contact with an infected person - have been registered by the health ministry.

Forty-three cases, 13 confirmed and 30 probable, have been reported, just a week into the outbreak. Trade activities between the countries result in frequent cross-border movement. This is the third outbreak in the DRC this year.

Health workers in Congo were setting up refrigerators on Monday to keep cool an Ebola vaccine needed to tackle an outbreak suspected to have infected 43 people, the health ministry said.

North Kivu province is home to more than 1 million people displaced people amid fighting between the government and militant groups.

World Health Organization has warned that this new outbreak poses a particular challenge as the region is a "war zone" with several active armed groups and tens of thousands of displaced people.

Despite that Ebola is never an easy illness to combat, the current outbreak is much more hard than previous ones primarily because of the location in which it appeared.

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