Congo receives first doses of Ebola vaccine amid outbreak

Congo receives first doses of Ebola vaccine amid outbreak

The WHO is anxious about the disease reaching the city of Mbandaka with a population of about 1 million people, which would make the outbreak far harder to tackle. It was named for the Ebola River in Congo, where it was first identified in 1976.

The Democratic Republic of Congo yesterday received thousands of Ebola vaccines after it was recently struck by the deadly disease, the health ministry has said.

Apart from this, the virus outbreak occurred in an area with a traffic of about 7,000 persons a week by different means, which represents a significant risk of further spread, the health official stressed.

They would be kept in Kinshasa until a refrigerated transportation chain could be guaranteed. The vaccine will be reserved for people suspected of coming into contact with the disease, as well as health workers.

It is the ninth time Ebola has been recorded in Congo since the disease made its first-known appearance near its northern Ebola river in the 1970s.

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The 2014-16 West Africa outbreak, which killed 11,300 people, was particularly deadly because it spread to the capital cities of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

MSF and its research arm Epicentre are also working closely with the Congolese Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO) on the implementation of the Ebola vaccine rVSVDG-ZEBOV-GP as an additional measure to control the outbreak.

Forty-four cases have been reported in the outbreak so far, including 3 confirmed, 20 probable and 21 suspected, according to the WHO's tally.

Supplies sent to Congo included more than 300 body bags for safe burials in affected communities.

The vaccine is complicated to use, requiring storage at a temperature between -60 and -80 degrees Celsius.

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