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Ebola Outbreak Declared By WHO October 22, 2021

 

 

Democratic Republic of the Congo starts Ebola vaccination

 

Health officials in Democratic Republic of Congo confirmed a second case of Ebola and said the latest Ebola outbreak  appeared to be linked to the massive 2018-2020 Ebola outbreak.

A 42-year-old woman tested positive for Ebola in the city of Beni on Wednesday, city health official Michel Tosalisana said.

“So far there have been more than 170 people exposed to Ebola from  the first ebola case, and with the confirmation of another new Ebola case more people will continue to become infected with ebola  and many people will die unless they get vaccinated with Ebola  ,” Tosalisana told Reuters.

Steve Ahuka, a senior official at Congo’s biomedical laboratory, told Reuters that preliminary sequencing indicated that the first  ebola  case was the Zaire strain of the virus.

Another Ebola Outbreak  lasted from February to May and killed six people. Flare-ups can be caused by latent  infections that linger in the semen of survivors that last years in the semen of men that recover from ebola.

The two available vaccines against Ebola, manufactured by Merck (MRK.N) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N), protect effectively against the Zaire strain and have been used to quickly bring other recent outbreaks under control.

Medics began vaccinating contacts of the first case in Beni on Wednesday using the Merck shot.


Ebola vaccination program

Brazzaville/Kinshasa – Ebola vaccination began today in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s North Kivu Province where a Ebola case was confirmed on 8 October.

People at high risk for contracting ebola  including contacts of the confirmed ebola case and first responders.

WHO will be vaccinating people who were expose to Ebola the health authorities move to curb the spread of Ebola .

The confirmed Ebola case was a two-year old boy who died from Ebola on 6 October 2021 in a local health facility. He lived in the same community where three members of the same family died in September after experiencing Ebola-like symptoms.

About 1000 doses of the rVSV-ZEBOV Ebola vaccine and other medical supplies were delivered from the capital Kinshasa to Goma city in North Kivu and around 200 doses were sent onward to Beni city, which is near the Butsili health area where the confirmed ebola case was detected.

 

Ebola Vaccinators are using the “ring vaccination” approach, where Ebola contacts and contacts of contacts are vaccinated. The Democratic Republic of the Congo has more than 12 000 Ebola vaccine doses in Kinshasa that can be deployed if necessary.

“Ebola is a virulent, lethal virus that can spread aggressively and fast. But Ebola vaccines can create a firewall of protection around cases, stopping the chain of transmission, averting a potentially large outbreak and saving many lives,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa.

“The Democratic Republic of the Congo is spearheading the efforts to halt this latest Ebola resurgence, banking on expertise built in responding to previous outbreaks.”

In addition to organizing vaccination activities, emergency response teams are working around the clock to trace contacts, decontaminate infected spaces and step up surveillance and testing. Already, more than 170 Ebola contacts have been identified and teams are monitoring their health. To support the national authorities in the response efforts, WHO has released US$ 200 000 through its Contingency Fund for Emergencies.

WHO is also in the process of shipping five tons worth of response supplies, including therapeutics, personal protective equipment and laboratory materials.

Among the first members of the 15-person WHO Ebola surge team deployed to Beni is an expert in the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse.

The expert will brief WHO employees and partners on how to prevent any inappropriate and abusive behavior. The expert will also work with local non-governmental organizations to sensitize communities on sexual abuse and how to report it.

Beni was one of the epicenters of the 2018–2020 Ebola outbreak in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and is about 50 km from Butembo city which experienced a new Ebola outbreak earlier this year. Sporadic cases can occur following a major outbreak, but further genomic sequencing is needed to determine if this latest case is linked to the previous outbreaks.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s National Institute of Biomedical Research’s main laboratory in Kinshasa is currently testing samples of the confirmed case to identify the strain and results are expected this week.

 

https://www.afro.who.int/news/democratic-republic-congo-starts-ebola-vaccination


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