Eastern Congo Ebola outbreak has killed 33: Health ministry

  • Eastern Congo Ebola outbreak has killed 33: Health ministry

Eastern Congo Ebola outbreak has killed 33: Health ministry

Congo's health ministry says that it is preparing to begin Ebola vaccinations Wednesday in the eastern city of Beni and neighboring Mangina village where the outbreak was announced last week.

On August 3, the World Health Organization announced there have been a total of 43 Ebola cases in the latest outbreak, including 33 deaths.

The experimental new vaccine, developed by pharmaceutical company Merck, was deemed successful in its first wide-scale test against a separate recent Ebola outbreak in the country's northwest, Reuters reports.

Using the remaining vaccine doses in the new outbreak is "common sense", a DRC Ministry of Public Health spokesperson tells ScienceInsider, because both scientific and ethical committees have already given the go ahead to continue to study the effectiveness of the vaccine.

So far, 879 people who came into contact with Ebola patients have been identified, the ministry said.

Three cases have been confirmed in Beni, a regional trading hub of several hundred thousand people about 30 km (18 miles) from the centre of the outbreak in the town of Mabalako, and some 70 km from the Ugandan border. This is the third outbreak in the DRC this year. He says there are now 16 confirmed cases of the hemorrhagic fever, 27 probable cases and 31 suspected ones under investigation.

"The cold chain for the vaccinations arrived in Beni on this sixth of August".

More than 900 contacts have been traced and registered in affected zones, as health workers take steps to stop the spread of the disease to neighbouring regions and countries.

Complications surround the fact that the new outbreak is in North Kivu province, a region where over 100 armed groups are believed to operate.

Testing by the Institut National de Recherche Biomédicale has suggested that the virus causing this outbreak belongs to the Ebola Zaire species.

Despite that Ebola is never an easy illness to combat, the current outbreak is much more hard than previous ones primarily because of the location in which it appeared.