Ebola vaccines to be shipped to DRC, WHO chief says

WHO says mass vaccinations won't prevent Ebola outbreaks

The government has moved to assure that no case of Ebola has been reported in the country despite a recent outbreak of the unsafe virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The country was struck by a smaller outbreak a year ago. Two out of five samples collected tested positive for a Zaire strain of Ebola. The number reflects 2 lab-confirmed, 14 suspected, and 18 probable cases.

"DRC is more than 3,000km away, but we are already prepared for screening all the targeted areas where Ebola can come into the country". In this case, the vaccine's deployment is meant to assist health-care workers in ending the outbreak long before it has the possibility of turning into an epidemic.

The UN health organisation also hopes to have a mobile lab up and running on site this weekend, Salama said.

This is the ninth time Ebola has been recorded in Congo.

Congo's health ministry on Tuesday, May 8, described the fresh outbreak as a "public health emergency with global impact". The affected area in Bikoro is remote, with limited communication and poor transportation infrastructure, the World Health Organization said. At the moment, he said, they are stored at minus 80 degrees by the manufacturer, Merck, Sharpe & Dohme.

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"We know from previous outbreaks that the D.R.C.is ready to act, but they need global support to ensure this outbreak is contained effectively", said Dr. Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust.

The team of researchers concluded that surveillance and isolation remain the most effective Ebola outbreak control methods after analyzing various vaccines for the Ebola virus.

Deputy Director-General of Emergency Preparedness and Response Peter Salama is reported by Reuters to have said that his outfit is "preparing for the worst-case scenario".

The effort also requires a field epidemiology push to identify every case and every contact for vaccination, he said.

Health CS Sicily Kariuki said: "Among the measures put in place to enhance screening are electronic thermal scanners, handgun thermal scanners and the deployment of 101 extra health workers".

"This is a highly complex sophisticated operation in one of the most hard terrains on earth", Salama said. A new experimental vaccine has been shown to be highly effective against the virus, though quantities are now limited.

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