In Congo, war and Ebola outbreak spread fear to neighboring nations

by Noah Mcgee November 9, 2018, 1:21
In Congo, war and Ebola outbreak spread fear to neighboring nations

There are four experimental treatments being tried out in DRC: ZMapp, a cocktail of antibodies that fight the virus; a second cocktail of antibodies called REGN-EB3; a single-antibody drug called mAb114; and an antiviral drug called remdesivir.Supportive care, including replacing fluids and electrolytes lost to diarrhea and vomiting, can also help keep patients alive.This is the second outbreak of Ebola in Congo this year.

A total of 2,100 doses of Merck's "rVSV-Ebola" vaccine candidate will be administered to the health workers to protect them against the type of Ebola virus strain that is now circulating in some parts of DRC.

The World Health Organization (WHO), and Ugandan Ministry of Health, have begun vaccinating frontline health workers in the country against Ebola, in a bid to stop an outbreak in the neighbouring Democratic of Congo (DRC) from crossing the border.

It is the first time an Ebola outbreak has occurred in DRC's far northeast, where multiple rebel groups are active. "This context puts the healthcare and frontline workers in Uganda at risk of being in contact with an [Ebola] case".

According to the World Health Organization, until November 1 there were 279 cases of Ebola infection in the DRC, 244 confirmed by laboratory tests, 179 people died as a result of the disease and 81 people were able to recover.

Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam, WHO country representative in Uganda, told newsmen that the operation kicked off in Uganda's western district of Ntoroko.

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In 2015, the vaccine was given to over 16,000 volunteers involved in several studies in Africa, Europe and the United States.

The minister explained that the vaccine is only available for frontline health workers who are at high risk of contracting EVD as they manage suspected cases.

According to authorities, about 26,000 people in the central African nation have meanwhile received a vaccine to prevent Ebola.

Although several studies have shown that the vaccine is safe and protective against the Ebola virus, more scientific research is needed before it can be licensed. "Therefore, the vaccine is not available to the general population at this stage. This is targeted vaccination", she emphasized.

The vaccinations are crucial to stemming transmission "in a highly endemic belt for hemorrhagic fevers", said Anthony Mbonye, a professor of health sciences at Uganda's Makerere University.

He assured of its potency and ability to protect them effectively.

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