Reported Ebola Cases Hits 42 In Congo - Ministry

A health worker wearing protective gear is sprayed with chlorine in Bikoro hospital

"We have agreement, registration, plus import permit — everything formally agreed already". With varying symptoms ranging from fever to diarrhoea, there were a total of 869 contacts and 20 laboratory confirmed cases were recorded.

She said that recent reports by the World Health Organization showed that the disease was back in neighboring Congo with 19 deaths and 39 infected casualties recorded so far. "All is ready now, to use it".

The Ebola-hit Bikoro, Iboko, and Wangata health zones are located in the Equateur province.

"The latest numbers until May 13, 2018 are: 42 cases, including two confirmed; 21 probable and 19 suspected", Ilunga said.

The WHO is expected to send 4,000 doses of Ebola vaccine to DRC in the near future.

Vaccinations could begin by next Monday, he said.

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"Furthermore, the ministry is working with health authorities in other urban centres near Mbandaka, including Kinshasa and Kisangani, to prepare contingency plans in these cities as well", Ilunga said. Three nurses are among those with suspected cases, and another is among the dead.

The outbreak of the disease is the ninth in the central African nation since it was first discovered in the east of the country four decades ago.

She added: "The government always has preventive measures in place to fight different epidemic diseases, Ebola inclusive, in partnership with the permanent emergency rescue team", she said.

The vaccine, developed by Merck in 2016, has proven safe and effective in human trials, but it is still experimental as it does not yet have a license. It was tested in West - Africa in 2015 during an Ebola epidemic that killed more than 11,300 people in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Bikoro Health Zone reported the highest number of cases (n=31), followed by Iboko (n=8) and Mbandaka (n=2) Health Zones.

WHO is working with Congo's government and other worldwide organizations, including Medecins Sans Frontieres, to strengthen coordination to fight and contain the Ebola outbreak.

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