WHO To Test Ebola Vaccine In Congo

Mass vaccination not enough to prevent Ebola outbreak

Geneva - The WHO is preparing for the worst case scenario in an Ebola outbreak in a remote area of Congo, including spread to a major town.

In a press conference given in Geneva on Friday, Peter Salama, head of the WHO's emergency response, told reporters the worldwide health organization is taking the newest outbreak of this Ebola virus very seriously.

There are multiple types of haemorrhagic fever outside of Ebola, meaning not all suspected cases involve the specific virus. The Federal Ministry of Health is to step up emergency surveillance at all land borders and airports after laboratory testing confirmed two of five hemorrhagic fever infections in the DRC as Ebola.

The World Health Organization (WHO), Médecins Sans Frontières, and Provincial Division of Health have traveled to Bikoro in an effort to stem the outbreak. The disease went on to ravage three countries and kill over 11,000 people.

Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus will travel to the DRC over the week-end to take stock of the situation and direct the continuing response in support of the national health authorities.

At least 18 people have died in what appears to be the worst outbreak of the Ebola virus since a catastrophic 2014 epidemic in western Africa claimed more than 11,000 lives.

Ebola returns to Africa after 2014 outbreak claimed more than 11,000 lives, but in the USA funding cuts for Ebola response were announced this week.


Pierre Formenty, DVM, MPH, a WHO Ebola expert, told reporters that investigators already know funeral transmission has been an issue in the current outbreak and that anthropology experts, who help navigate cultural issues in outbreak settings, are among the first wave of the surge of WHO experts responding.

Over the last four decades, the Democratic Republic of Congo has experienced eight Ebola outbreaks.

Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus in a Twitter post said the agreement was made in a phone call with Congo's health minister on Thursday.

"The country is requesting it, and the response is underway", he said Friday.

Cases have already been reported in three separate locations around Bikoro, and Mr Salama warned there was a clear risk the disease could spread to more densely populated areas.

Salama said the World Health Organization is planning for all scenarios, including the worst case.

Officials are concerned about the virus reaching Mbandaka, the capital of Equateur province, Medical Xpress reported.

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