Ebola vaccines start in rural Congo after a deadly outbreak



EBOLA vaccinations will begin Monday in the two rural areas of Congo where the latest deadly outbreak was declared this month, the health ministry said overnight, as the number of confirmed cases of Ebola increased to 35 , including 10 deaths.

A The vaccination campaign is already under way in Mbandaka, the city of 1.2 million on the Congo River where four cases of Ebola have been confirmed.

Around 100 health workers have been vaccinated there while first-line workers are at high risk of contracting the virus. through contact with the body fluids of the infected, including the dead.

The vaccination campaign will begin on Monday in the rural areas of Bikoro and Iboko, in the northwest of the country, Health Ministry spokeswoman Jessica Ilunga told The Associated Press.

The minister of health can be found at this moment in Bikoro to evaluate the preparations for the vaccination campaign, "said Ilunga.

Of the 10 deaths confirmed by Ebola, five have occurred in Bikoro, two in Iboko. and three in the Wangata area of ​​Mbandaka.

In addition to the confirmed cases of Ebola, there are also 13 probable cases and six suspects, said the Ministry of Health.

The chief of emergencies of the World Health Organization He said that the next few weeks are crucial to determine if the outbreak can be controlled.Complicated factors include its spread to a major city, the fact that health workers have been infected and the existence of three or four "separate epicenters" that make that finding and monitoring contacts of infected people is more difficult.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a meeting in Geneva on Saturday that "personally I am committed to ensuring that we do everything we can to stop this outbreak as soon as possible. "

This is the ninth outbreak of Ebola in the Congo since 1976, when hemorrhagic fever was the first identified.

There is no specific treatment for Ebola. Symptoms include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain and, occasionally, internal and external bleeding. The virus can be fatal in up to 90% of cases, depending on the strain.

WHO uses a "ring vaccination" approach, targeting contacts of people infected or suspected of infection and then contacts of those people. More than 600 contacts have been identified.

WHO is also accelerating efforts with nine neighboring countries to try to prevent the Ebola outbreak from spreading there, saying the regional risk is high. He has warned against international travel and trade restrictions.

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