Medicine

Congo Ebola vaccine teams set up fridges, 43 cases suspected

Congo Ebola vaccine teams set up fridges, 43 cases suspected

Three more cases of the deadly Ebola virus have been confirmed in Democratic Republic of Congo's latest outbreak, the country's health ministry said on Tuesday, while the World Health Organization (WHO) said vaccinations could begin as early as Wednesday.

As with the outbreak in western Congo, health officials plan to deploy a vaccine manufactured by Merck that they have credited with helping disrupt the spread of the virus after it reached a river port city with transport links to the capital Kinshasa.

He said so far, 26 case with haemorrhagic fever signs, including twenty deaths in the area of North Kivu have been reported.

The agency said there were 43 cases of the disease, 13 confirmed and 30 probable, in North Kivu province.

There are 33 additional "suspected cases" in the North Kivu outbreak that are pending lab test results to "confirm or exclude Ebola virus disease", according to WHO.




World Health Organization has said 3,000 doses of the vaccine are still in DR Congo's capital, Kinshasa, and that it can access up to 300,000 more on short notice.

Health workers are in the process of setting up a so-called cold chain, the series of measures needed to keep the vaccine well below zero in a tropical climate without reliable power supplies, the ministry said.

Peter Salama, WHO deputy director for emergency preparedness and response, said analysis of genetic sequencing showed it was a new outbreak - separate from the one 2,500 km (1,500 miles) away in the northwest that ended less than two weeks ago after killing 33 - but the same strain.

Oly Ilunga Kalenga says in a statement that at least four Ebola deaths are confirmed. Ebola, first identified in the country in 1976, jumps to humans from animals including bats and monkeys.


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