WHO Starts Ebola Vaccination Campaign in Congo

Rodiano Bonacci
Mag 23, 2018

Dr. Guyauma Ngoyi Mwamba, centre, representative of the Democratic Republic of Congo on Expanded Program on Immunization, is administered with a vaccine during a vaccination campaign in Mbandaka, Congo Monday, May 21, 2018.

The World Health Organization said 33 people received the first vaccinations on Monday, including a few people in two communities of Mbandaka.

The rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine was created by re-engineering the vesicular stomatitis virus, which mainly affects horses and cattle, to carry a particularly deadly strain of Ebola first identified in the then Zaire (now DRC), and is also the strain that caused the West Africa outbreak.

The WHO said vaccine manufacturer Merck has provided it with 8,640 doses of the vaccine, and an additional 8,000 doses are expected to be available in the coming days.

The vaccine, provided by US company Merck, is still in the test stages, but it was effective toward the end of the Ebola epidemic that killed more than 11,300 people in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia from 2014 to 2016. President Laurent Kabila on Saturday increased Ebola Emergency funds to more than $4 million.

Together with his cabinet, he also approved the provision of free healthcare services in the affected areas and specialised care to survivors and their families.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Congo warned that the outbreak is far from over.

As the outbreak largely came under control at the end of 2015 in Guinea, CDC researchers found that public education and knowledge surrounding Ebola reached about 92 percent of the population.

14 2014 shows Medecins Sans Frontieres medical staff wearing protective clothing treating the body of an Ebola victim at their facility in Kailahun
AFP 2018 Carl de Souza Three New Ebola Cases Confirmed by Congo Health Ministry as Outbreak Spreads

This is followed by more severe symptoms including internal bleeding and reduced kidney and liver function.

"We want to state emphatically that the report is false and misleading and that there is no such incidence of Ebola in Ghana", the statement signed by Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, Director General, GHS said. "I am pleased to say that vaccination is starting as we speak today".

"I am proud of the way the whole organisation has responded to this outbreak, at headquarters, the regional office and the country office", he said.

The DRC has faced nine outbreaks of the haemmorhagic fever since it was discovered along the country's Ebola River in 1976.

The Ebola virus is transmitted to humans from animals and is estimated by the World Health Organization to have a 50-percent fatality rate. It is spread via contact with the bodily fluids of those infected.

The city of around 1.2 million people lies on the Congo River, where it is a transport hub to Brazzaville and Kinshasa downstream and to Bangui, upstream.

Yet a "substantial percentage of participants harbored misconceptions" about transmission and treatments, the authors wrote in their report, with half of respondents believing Ebola is transmitted by mosquitoes or through the air.

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