Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
Medical | By Johnnie Horton

World Health Organization gets approval to use Ebola vaccine in Democratic Republic of Congo

World Health Organization gets approval to use Ebola vaccine in Democratic Republic of Congo

The Bikoro health zone is about 150 kilometers (93 miles) from Mbandaka, the capital of the Equateur province, and 45 kilometers (28 miles) from Ikoko Impenge, where there are other suspected cases.

The World Health Organization has been authorised by officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo to use an experimental Ebola vaccine in the country as the virus spreads in the central African nation.

"We have agreement, registration, plus import permit, everything formally agreed already", Tedros told reporters.

She said that recent reports by the World Health Organisation (WHO) showed that the disease was back in neighbouring Congo with 19 deaths and 39 infected casualties recorded so far.

It said 393 people who identified as contacts of Ebola patients were being followed up.

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Information about the outbreak in Bikoro, Iboko and Wangata in Equateur province was still limited, the WHO said, but at present the outbreak does not meet the criteria for declaring a "public health event of worldwide concern", which would trigger the formation of an emergency WHO committee. "All is ready now to really use it".

Congo's Ministry of Health has requested that WHO send 4,000 doses of the vaccine, said ministry spokeswoman Jessyca Ilunga, who said they should arrive by the end of the week.

In an interview with The New Times on Monday, Dr. Diane Gashumba, the Minister for Health said no signs of Ebola have so far been detected on Rwandan soil and that the ministry is working with different stakeholders to ensure citizens are protected from the outbreak.

Gashumba revealed there is a constant screening system at Kigali International Airport to track the outbreak from people coming from overseas to make sure the disease does not spread in the country while more operations are intensively being done on the country's borders.

The new experimental vaccine, developed by the Canadian government and now licensed to the US -based Merck and has been shown to be highly effective against the virus.

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