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Democratic Republic of Congo begins Ebola vaccination

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Democratic Republic of Congo begins Ebola vaccination

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is spearheading efforts to end this latest Ebola outbreak, building on the expertise gained in responding to previous outbreaks

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, October 13, 2021 / APO Group / –

Vaccination against Ebola began today in North Kivu province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where a case was confirmed on October 8. People at high risk, including contacts of the confirmed case and first responders, will receive the doses as health authorities act to curb the spread of the virus.

The confirmed case was a two-year-old boy who died on October 6 at a local health facility. He lived in the same community where three members of the same family died in September after experiencing Ebola-like symptoms.

About 1000 doses of the rVSV-ZEBOV Ebola vaccine and other medical supplies were delivered from the capital Kinshasa to the city of Goma in North Kivu and about 200 doses were sent to the city of Beni, which is close to the area. health center of Butsili where the confirmed case was detected. . Vaccinators use the “ring vaccination” approach, where contacts and contacts of contacts are vaccinated. The Democratic Republic of Congo has more than 12,000 doses of vaccines in Kinshasa which can be deployed if necessary.

“Ebola is a virulent and deadly virus that can spread aggressively and rapidly. But vaccines can create a protective firewall around cases, stopping the chain of transmission, averting a potentially large epidemic and saving many lives, ”said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, regional director of the World Health Organization. (WHO) for Africa. “The Democratic Republic of the Congo is spearheading efforts to end this latest Ebola outbreak, building on the expertise gained to respond to previous outbreaks. “

In addition to organizing vaccination activities, emergency response teams are working around the clock to trace contacts, decontaminate infected spaces, and step up surveillance and testing. Already, more than 170 contacts have been identified and teams are monitoring their state of health. To support national authorities in response efforts, WHO has released US $ 200,000 through its emergency reserve fund. WHO is also shipping five tonnes of response supplies, including therapeutics, personal protective equipment and laboratory equipment.

Among the first members of the 15-person WHO back-up team deployed to Beni is an expert in the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse. The expert will educate WHO staff and partners on how to prevent inappropriate and abusive behavior. The expert will also work with local non-governmental organizations to educate communities about sexual abuse and how to report it.

Beni was one of the epicenters of the 2018-2020 Ebola outbreak in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and is approximately 50 km from the town of Butembo which has experienced a new Ebola outbreak over early this year. Sporadic cases can occur following a major outbreak, but additional genomic sequencing is needed to determine whether the latter case is linked to previous outbreaks. The main laboratory of the National Institute of Biomedical Research of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Kinshasa is currently testing samples from the confirmed case to identify the strain and the results are expected this week.

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