WHO Reports 19 Dead, 39 Infected in Congo Ebola Outbreak

WHO gets approval to use Ebola vaccine in DRC

WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus visited Bikoro on Sunday and positively assessed the speed with which the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo declared the outbreak.

"We have agreement, registration, plus import permit, everything formally agreed already", Tedros said. "All is ready now, to use it".

"This outbreak is very close to the Republic of Congo and Central African Republic". Health officials traveled there after Congo's Equateur provincial health ministry on May 3 alerted them to 17 deaths from a hemorrhagic fever.

The WHO has a stockpile of 4,300 doses of the vaccine in Geneva, Stat News reported. The measures include providing vaccinations to prevent the disease and administering supplies to support infected individuals. Three nurses are among those with suspected cases, and another is among the dead.

Congo's Ministry of Health and the WHO are tracing contacts of the victims and offering them an experimental Ebola vaccine.

"WHO is supporting the establishment of a mobile lab deployed by the [Ministry of Helath] to Bikoro that will be operational in 2 days", Jasarevic said.


19 deaths have been recorded in the Democratic Republic of Congo following the latest outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus.

Any other persons with potential exposure to Ebola, such as laboratory workers, surveillance and contact teams, will also be vaccinated. While that epidemic started with an Ebola outbreak in a small border village in Guinea, the latest outbreak in the DRC similarly started near the national border, in the market town of Bikoro that is accessible by major rivers. The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission. It was tested in Guinea in 2015.

The Ebola vaccine being provided - called rVSV-ZEBOV - is an experimental vaccine that has been shown to be safe in humans and highly effective against the Ebola virus, according to the WHO.

A delegation from the World Health Organization visited the affected area which is in the country's northwest.

The outbreak is now confined to the Bikoro, Iboko, and Wangata health zones, in Equateur province.

Congolese authorities and worldwide organizations including the WHO, Red Cross, the US Center for Disease Control and Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) are already involved in the operation and have pledged their support to the DRC government.

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