Ebola returns: Outbreak in DR Congo kills three people

Health officials in Congo are trying to contact 125 people who have potential links to the identified cases.

    2017/05/16

NSFW    ATEKI, DR CONGO — The World Health Organization confirmed a new Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo over the weekend, a year after the previous epidemic in West Africa killed 11,000 people.

The outbreak was declared in the town of Aketi in Bas-Uele province near the border with Central African Republic. Of the 19 suspected and confirmed cases, three people have died. Health officials in Congo are trying to contact 125 people who have potential links to the identified cases.

According to the WHO, the first case occurred on April 22 when a 45-year-old man died after taking a taxi to a hospital. The driver of the taxi later fell ill and died. A third person who cared for the 45-year-old man also became ill and died.

An experimental Ebola vaccine called rVSV-ZEBOV might be used to control the outbreak. The vaccine works by replacing a gene from harmless the vesicular stomatitis virus with a gene encoded with an Ebola virus surface protein. The vaccine produces an immune response in humans.

“Gavi’s work with Merck means there are 300,000 doses of Ebola vaccine available if needed to stop this outbreak becoming a pandemic. The vaccine has shown high efficacy in clinical trials and could play a vital role in protecting the most vulnerable,” Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance said in a press release.

WHO officials told Reuters that they have not yet decided whether or not to use the vaccine to contain the outbreak.
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