Congo receives first doses of Ebola vaccine amid outbreak

Ebola outbreak spreads to urban area as deaths mount
First confirmed urban Ebola case is a 'game changer' in Congo outbreak
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17 May, 2018

Authorities said they were tracing all air, river, and road routes in and out of the city to find the source of the virus.

Spokeswoman Jessica Ilunga says the vaccines will be sent to Mbandaka and Bikoro, the rural areas where two confirmed cases and several suspected cases have been reported.

The U.N. World Health Organization will convene an Emergency Committee on Friday to consider the global risks of an Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier said on Thursday. It will be reserved for people suspected of coming in contact with the disease.

This is a concerning development, but we now have better tools than ever before to combat Ebola.

An expert committee will decide in its emergency meeting on Friday whether to declare a "public health emergency of global concern", which would trigger more worldwide involvement, mobilizing research and resources, WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier said.

Before the latest confirmed case, Peter Salama, the WHO's deputy director-general for emergency preparedness and response, said the current number of suspected, probable or confirmed cases stood at 42, with 23 deaths attributed to the outbreak.

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The Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo has spread to the northwest city of Mbandaka, the World Health Organization said, adding it will convene an Emergency Committee on Friday to consider its worldwide risks.

World Health Organization spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said the supplies sent to Congo included more than 300 body bags for safe burials in affected communities.

WHO is also working with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and other partners to strengthen the capacity of health facilities to treat Ebola patients in special isolation wards.

The Health Ministry also informed that the vaccine which is still not licensed but proved effective during limited trials in West Africa will go in use from the weekend.

This is the ninth time that the DRC has been dealing with the Ebola epidemic since 1976.


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