Vaccines arrive in DR Congo to fight Ebola outbreak

EBOLA OUTBREAK 19 deaths confirmed 39 suspected cases reported in DRC WHO says

EBOLA OUTBREAK 19 deaths confirmed 39 suspected cases reported in DRC WHO says

There are plans to fly a second batch of 4,000 doses of vaccine in coming days, World Health Organization spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said.

World Health Organization has reported 23 deaths among the 42 cases as medical teams try to contain the hemorrhagic fever.

More than 400 people are thought to have have contact with the disease, which is typically transmitted through the bodily fluids and faeces of animals, especially fruit bats. The Senate is further reminded that the DRC is 435 kilometres by air from Abuja and is easily accessible via a flight from Lagos that takes less than three hours.

"The aim is for health officials to start using the vaccine, once it's shipped, by the end of the week, or next week if there are difficulties, said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus..."

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The Chief Whip, Senator Sola Adeyeye, however, pointed out that the disease, if spread to Nigeria, might have a devastating effect as workers in the country's public health institutions were on strike.

"We are entering a new phase of the Ebola outbreak that is now affecting three health zones, including an urban health zone", Health Minister Oly Ilunga Kalenga said in a statement.

According to her, unless hospitals are prepared properly and equipped with Ebola vaccines, it will be an epidemic Nigeria may be unable to take on.

"If it also protects against the strain of the virus that now is active in the Congo, it could play a major role in ending the outbreak".

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The experimental vaccine was shown to be effective during limited trials in West Africa during the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak, which killed more than 11,000 people.

Professor William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, said the vaccine could be crucial in the fight to curtail the outbreak.

The outbreak has occurred in an area with a traffic about 7,000 people a week by different means, posing significant risk of spreading the epidemic, noted the director.

The outbreak is centred around the remote town of Bikoro in the province of Equateur, which has 31 of the cases and 274 contacts. The Bikoro health zone is about 150 kilometers - 93 miles - from Mbandaka and 45 kilometers from Ikoko Impenge, where suspected cases have been reported.

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