Congo warns of new phase in Ebola outbreak after first urban case

Grant Boone
May 17, 2018

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. Hence, it is heartening to know that this nation just received the first batch of the Ebola vaccine since the new outbreak began.

The worst-ever Ebola outbreak started in December 2013 in southern Guinea before spreading to neighbouring west African countries Liberia and Sierra Leone, killing more than 11,300 people out of almost 29,000 registered cases.

The first urban case to be announced threatens to change that.

The swift response to quickly tackle the outbreak is in contrast to the response to the 2014 outbreak, when worldwide agencies and governments were criticized for their slow response.

The Health Ministry said vaccinations would start at the weekend, the first time the vaccine would come into use since it was developed two years ago.

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The World Health Organization says more doses "should be deployed in the coming days". The health body also sent 300 body bags for safe burials in affected communities.

"One new case of Ebola virus disease has been confirmed in Wangata, one of the 3 health zones of Mbandaka, a city of almost 1.2 million people in Equateur Province in northwestern Democratic Republic of the Congo", the UN's health agency said in a statement.

At present, 514 people who may have been in contact with infected people have been notified by the national health authorities and are now being monitored in Mbandaka and Bikoro.

"We are now tracing more than 4,000 contacts of patients and they have spread out all over the region of northwest Congo, so they have to be followed up and the only way to reach them is motorcycles".

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