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Ebola vaccines to be shipped to Congo as suspected cases grow

12 Mai 2018

WHO said it was working with Kongo officials to scale operations in the region and to mobilize public health partners there.

To date there have been 32 suspected cases in and around Bikoro in remote Equateur Province - close to the Congo River - two confirmed by laboratory testing.

World Health Organization is particularly concerned about the virus reaching Mbandaka, which has around one million inhabitants and is only a few hours away from Bikoro. By this weekend, the first mobile lab at the outbreak site should be up and running, Salama said. "I myself am on my way to the DRC to assess the needs first-hand", said Dr Tedros.

Similar measures helped it contain the virus during the West African epidemic that began in 2013. In a trial of 11,800 people in Guinea in 2015, the vaccine had 100 per cent efficacy, giving hope it could be a game-changer in preventing Ebola from spreading. Based on the information now available and the rapid response measures implemented by the Ministry of Health in collaboration with WHO and partners, the event does not meet the criteria of a public heath event of global concern as defined in the IHR (2005), and does not warrant the convening of an Emergency Committee under the IHR (2005).

The government has allayed fears that the Ebola outbreak in Congo could spread into the country. "However, any country facing such a threat may require worldwide assistance".

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Ebola, officially known as Ebola virus disease, is a rare condition caused by an infection with one of five known Ebola virus species.

The WHO is waiting for Congo's government to give it the green light to launch the vaccination program, Deputy Director-General of Emergency Preparedness and Response Peter Salama told a United Nations briefing on Friday. But before the vaccine could be rolled out, the virus was stopped by methods used in earlier outbreaks - health workers in protective gear isolating the sick and burying the dead.

"This is going to be tough and it's going to be costly to stamp out this outbreak", he said. "We need to be prepared for all scenarios".

Two cases of Ebola have been confirmed in the latest outbreak in a remote northwestern part of DRC.

Additionally, the surrounding 9 countries have also been put on "high alert". "Yet, Republicans in Congress insist on pressing forward with a cruel, cynical rescissions package that eliminates life-saving funding for responding to outbreaks", Pelosi said.

Ebola vaccines to be shipped to Congo as suspected cases grow