Nine Confirmed Dead In DR Congo’s Ebola Outbreak

Desiree Burns
August 10, 2018

"Vaccination is expected to start this week and most likely it will start with health workers and responders and then move on to contacts and contacts of contacts", Jasarevic told a Geneva briefing earlier on Tuesday.

Congo's health ministry says at least nine people have died in the country's tenth Ebola outbreak, which was declared August 1.

The World Health Organization says experts are starting to carry out Ebola vaccinations in Congo's latest deadly outbreak.

The experimental vaccine, which is manufactured by Merck, proved successful during its first wide-scale usage against the previous outbreak in Equateur Province.

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.

"The Ebola virus is most infectious in the moments after death", Dr Nafo-Traore said, stressing that for this approach to work, it needs to be attuned to local cultural beliefs and norms.

Some 36 people have died from hemorrhagic fever amid the outbreak, but officials said many can not be confirmed as Ebola deaths at this point.

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More than 3,000 doses remain in stock in the capital Kinshasa, allowing authorities to deploy them quickly to affected areas.

Health experts in the city closest to the new outbreak, Beni, have been setting up "cold chains" to keep the vaccines at the optimal temperature of minus 70 degrees Celsius (minus 158 degrees Fahrenheit), a challenge in a region with hot temperatures and unreliable power supplies. There are 16 confirmed cases of the hemorrhagic fever, 27 probable cases and now 46 suspected ones under investigation. It can be spread through contact of bodily fluids of someone infected, living or dead.

Over 900 people who have are thought to have been in contact with the 43 infected people are being monitored.

In the past, dozens of people were killed by the disease in the central African country.

Ebola, first identified in the country in 1976, jumps to humans from animals including bats and monkeys.

There is no specific treatment, and the virus can be fatal in up to 90 percent of cases, depending on the strain.

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