World Health Organization gets approval to use Ebola vaccine in DR Congo

World Health Organization gets approval to use Ebola vaccine in DR Congo

World Health Organization gets approval to use Ebola vaccine in DR Congo

By Wednesday or Thursday, the vaccines in Geneva will be sent to the DRC, said Tedros.

Health workers may have a new weapon in their arsenal to fight the current epidemic: the Merck-manufactured rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine.

The case fatality rate of the Ebola virus disease (EVD) is so far 49 percent, the World Health Organization said.

The disease is endemic to the Democratic Republic of Congo, and this is the nation's ninth outbreak since the discovery of the virus in the country in 1976.

"This is an experimental vaccine, not a licensed product, and there are a lot of complications", including ensuring it is stored at the correct temperature, Salama said.

The new vaccine would mean that when a new Ebola case is diagnosed, all people who might have been in recent contact with them are traced and vaccinated to try and prevent the disease's spread, according to Reuters.

DRC has a long history with Ebola (unlike the West African countries where the 2014-2015 outbreak started). The vaccine could arrive in Kinshasa on Tuesday, WHO spokesman Eugene Kabambi said.

"That's our plan. And so far things are going as planned", he said, expressing hope that the quick response will speed containment of the outbreak.

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The cases were reported from Bikoro, Iboko and Wangata, and 393 contacts have been identified so far and are being followed up, the World Health Organization also said.

The latest suspected case was reported on Friday in the northwestern province of Equateur, which Health Minister Oly Ilunga Kalenga visited on Saturday with officials from the WHO and U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF).

Those infected do not become contagious until symptoms appear, something that happens after an incubation period of between two and 21 days.

The statement also advised Health care workers to ensure universal care precautions at all times which includes the use of personal protective equipment when handling patients always, adding that patients who are suspected to have Ebola should be immediately isolated from other patients.

"We have agreement, registration, plus import permit, everything formally agreed already", WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

The WHO and others have deployed many experts to the area, including epidemiologists, people skilled at contact tracing, and anthropologists who are already learning about local customs.

Dr Matthew Tut, the Director of Emergency, Preparedness and Response at the health ministry in South Sudan, said the area where Ebola was declared in the Congo is far from Western and Central Equatoria regions which border DRC but the precaution measures must be put in place for any inconvenience. The virus is not spread through the air or by water.

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