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Ebola has infected dozens so far in Congo, killing 19, World Health Organization says

Ebola has infected dozens so far in Congo, killing 19, World Health Organization says

From April 4 through May 13, 2018, a total of 39 cases have been reported, including three healthcare workers and 19 deaths. After that, vaccination of health care workers and people who have been in contact with cases will begin.

As STAT News' Helen Branswell notes, the World Health Organization plans to employ a "ring vaccination" process, administering the vaccine to anyone who may have had contact with the infected individuals. Meanwhile information about the outbreak in towns like Bikoro, Iboko and Wangata health zones in Equateur province was still limited, according to the WHO.

In an interview with The New Times on Monday, Dr. Diane Gashumba, the Minister for Health said no signs of Ebola have so far been detected on Rwandan soil and that the ministry is working with different stakeholders to ensure citizens are protected from the outbreak.

"This outbreak is very close to the Republic of Congo and Central African Republic". By May 7, a number of these cases tested positive for the Ebola virus at laboratory facilities of the Institute National de Recherche Biomedicale. The 2014-2016 outbreak in West Africa involved major urban areas as well as rural ones.

In Congo, vaccines will also be administered to local and worldwide health care workers and front-line workers in both affected areas as well as the regions expected to be at risk should the outbreak continue to spread. The 393 close contacts now under surveillance for symptoms of Ebola would likely be the first recipients of the vaccine.

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"Because it is an experimental vaccine, there are several steps to observe", Jasarevik said.

"This is not a simple logistical effort; it's not like doing a polio campaign with oral polio vaccines, where we get it immediately out to the field".

It's the ninth Ebola outbreak in the DRC since the virus was first discovered there in 1976, when the country was named Zaire. "This is a highly complex sophisticated operation in one of the most hard terrains on Earth", Salama said. The epicenter, a town called Bikoro, is hard to reach by vehicle because of poor roads between it and the regional capital, Mbandaka. The virus is then passed between humans through blood or bodily fluids, like saliva, sweat, urine, semen, or breast milk.

The dreaded Ebola virus has resurfaced in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but the governments of Africa and the United Nations are now better equipped to deal with the disease before it again claims thousands of lives.

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