Started a new vaccination campaign against him Ebola in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congoannounced this Wednesday the World Health Organization (WHO), days after the death of a two-year-old boy raised fears about another major outbreak of the virus
The little boy died in a clinic in the city of Me, one of the epicenters of the 2018-2020 outbreak, which left more than 2,200 dead and infected an additional 1,000 people. The WHO explained that three people from the same neighborhood died in September after experiencing Ebola-like symptoms, including severe vomiting and diarrhea.
Additional genomic sequencing is needed to determine if the latter case is related to previous outbreaks or if it came from a new source. Ebola can remain present in semen for months after recovery, causing sporadic outbreaks of the disease that, when caught early, are generally easier to contain.
“Health workers are monitoring more than 170 contacts and 200 doses of vaccines have been sent to Beni,” the WHO explained. The vaccine has revolutionized the fight against hemorrhagic fever, which normally kills about half of the people it infects, Reuters reported.
The benefit has been felt most in the Congo, which has seen 12 outbreaks since the disease was discovered in the equatorial forest near the Ebola river in 1976. In 2018 it helped contain the virus in the busy city of Mbandaka, with a population of more than a million people.
‘Ebola is a deadly virus that can spread rapidly and aggressively. But vaccines can create a protective firewall around cases, stop the chain of transmission, prevent a potentially large outbreak and save many lives, “said in a statement the WHO director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti.