DRC: New Ebola deaths confirmed, dozens believed infected

Tuesday August 7 2018     Ebola Health ministry issues alert

In the latest outbreak, declared last week, 43 people are believed to have been infected in North Kivu province, including 33 who have died, the United Nations health agency said.

The experimental vaccine, which is manufactured by Merck, proved successful during its first wide-scale usage against an outbreak in north-western Congo that was declared over less than two weeks ago.

Using the remaining vaccine doses in the new outbreak is "common sense", a DRC Ministry of Public Health spokesperson tells ScienceInsider, because both scientific and ethical committees have already given the go ahead to continue to study the effectiveness of the vaccine.

Oly Ilunga Kalenga says in a statement that at least four Ebola deaths are confirmed.

World Health Organization is working to create and strengthen surveillance efforts, trace points of contact, expand lab capacities, and work on preventing infections, among other measures.

Although they were anxious then that the virus might have traveled to other regions because of its close proximity to the Congo river, there is no evidence yet suggesting that the new outbreak is related to the former outbreak in Bikoro.

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An additional 43 suspected cases of Ebola were reported, including 13 confirmed by lab testing, according to WHO.

"The cold chain for the vaccinations arrived in Beni on this sixth of August". Three healthcare workers were also infected, one of them among the dead.

North Kivu borders Rwanda and Uganda and trade activity fuels heavy movement across the borders.

The central African country has dealt with Ebola for decades and this is its tenth outbreak of the virus.

Complications surround the fact that the new outbreak is in North Kivu province, a region where over 100 armed groups are believed to operate. It will be even harder to reach the target population this time, because this outbreak took place in a region where active civil conflicts have displaced over 1 million civilians.

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