DRC to begin vaccinating against Ebola

DRC- The Democratic Republic of Congo will begin administering an experimental Ebola vaccine on Monday in Mbandaka, the northwestern city of 1.2 million where the deadly disease has infected some residents, DRC health minister announced.

Minister of Health Oly Ilunga told the Associated Press, “The vaccination campaign begins tomorrow, Monday, in Mbandaka, capital of the province. It will target, first, the health staff, the contacts of the sick and the contacts of the contacts,”

The current death toll of the new Ebola outbreak has risen to 26.

Ilunga said at first the campaign will target 600 people, mainly medical staff, contacts of suspected cases, and those who have been in contact with the contacts. Officials are working tirelessly to prevent the disease from spreading beyond Mbandaka, which lies on the Congo River, with a busy traffic corridor, and is only an hour’s flight from the capital.

Officials say, more than 4 000 doses are already in DRC and more are on the way. The vaccine is still in the testing stages, but was effective in the West Africa outbreak a few years ago.

The biggest challenge will be keeping the vaccines cold in the large, impoverished, tropical country where infrastructure is poor.

The health ministry said four new cases have been confirmed as Ebola. The health ministry statement released on Sunday said a total of 46 cases of hemorrhagic fever have been reported, including 21 confirmed cases of Ebola, 21 probable and four suspected.

DRC President Joseph Kabila and his Cabinet agreed on Saturday to increase funding for the Ebola emergency to more than $4m. Cabinet endorsed the decision to provide free health care in the affected areas, including providing special care to all Ebola victims and their relatives.

Photo Credit- The Chronicle Herald


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