The World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Wednesday that Ebola vaccination have begun in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to combat an outbreak in the northwest city of Mbandaka.
As of the time of filing this report, two persons are reported to have died in the metropolis of nearly one million people, which is located near road, water, and air linkages to the capital Kinshasa.
The first death occurred on April 21, and the second occurred on Tuesday, marking the 14th Ebola epidemic in the central African country.
The WHO stated in a statement that 200 doses of the rVSV-ZEBOV Ebola vaccine had been shipped to Mbandaka from the eastern city of Goma, with more due in the coming days.
It also stated that 233 contacts have been found and are being monitored. Three vaccination teams have arrived on the scene and will focus on reaching all high-risk individuals.
“With effective vaccines at hand and the experience of the Democratic Republic of the Congo health workers in Ebola response, we can quickly change the course of this outbreak for the better,” WHO Africa Director Matshidiso Moeti said in the statement.
The Ebola virus, which was identified along the Ebola River in northern Congo in 1976, has a natural reservoir in the Congo’s tropical jungles.
It is a rare but deadly virus that causes fever, body aches, and diarrhea, and sometimes bleeding inside and outside the body. As the virus spreads through the body, it damages the immune system and organs. Ultimately, it causes levels of blood-clotting cells to drop. This leads to severe, uncontrollable bleeding.
There have been 13 prior Ebola outbreaks in the country, the most recent of which occurred in the east in 2018-2020, killing approximately 2,300 people, the second highest toll in the history of the hemorrhagic illness.
The most recent occurred in December in the east and resulted in the deaths of six people. In 2018, and again in 2020, Mbandaka, the capital of Equateur province, was hit by epidemics.
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