World Health Organization gets approval to use Ebola vaccine in DRC

New Ebola outbreak in the DRC

The country reported 39 suspected, probable or confirmed cases of Ebola between April 4 and May 13, including 19 deaths, World Health Organization said. Weller cited an Ebola outbreak nearly a year ago in the DRC that was contained quickly contained.

Those infected do not become contagious until symptoms appear, something that happens after an incubation period of between two and 21 days. Other than the two confirmed cases, 18 patients are considered probable carriers of the Ebola virus, it said. While outbreaks in remote areas usually mean the disease can be contained, on this occasion suspected cases have been reported in three locations spread over 60km.

Scientists at the national microbiology lab in Winnipeg, Manitoba, have prepared an experimental Ebola vaccine for shipment to the world health organisation. The cases were unrelated to the epidemic in West Africa that year in which more than 11,000 people died.

Ebola viruses are a group of particularly nasty viruses that have a significant burden across Africa. The virus is then passed between humans through blood or bodily fluids, like saliva, sweat, urine, semen, or breast milk.

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It is caused by an infection with one of five known Ebola virus species, four of which can cause disease in humans. The cases are being reported from remote locations that are hard to access.

Congo suffered eight previous Ebola epidemics. The vaccine is safe and efficacious and has already been tested.

There have been several recorded outbreaks of Ebola since its discovery in the early 1970s - all but one have been small. The situation has been contained and as we speak there are no plans to cancel any planes from West African Countries.

"Public health emergency of global concern" means an extraordinary event which is determined, as provided in these Regulations: "(i) to constitute a public health risk to other States through the worldwide spread of disease and (ii) to potentially require a coordinated worldwide response".

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"The Ministry of Health affirms that there is no case of Ebola in the country".

The director-general noted that DRC has lots of experiencing combating Ebola.

This is the DRC's ninth Ebola outbreak since the discovery of the virus in the country in 1976. Towards the end of the crisis, people were treated with antibodies of survivors.

Transporting the vaccines to the affected area would be logistically challenging.

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Although the DRC is resource poor, along with the WHO, MSF and Africa CDC, they are experience rich. But swift action is needed. If history is anything to go by, they will be probably be successful in stopping this outbreak before it gets out of control.

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