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Experimental Ebola Vaccine May Help Halt New Outbreak In Congo

13 May 2018
Experimental Ebola Vaccine May Help Halt New Outbreak In Congo

Ebola vaccines will be shipped as quickly as possible to Congo as the number of suspected cases in the latest outbreak grows, the head of the World Health Organization said Friday as the agency prepared for a "worst-case scenario".

Opendi said medical officers at the airport are screening all passengers coming into the country especially those from neighboring DRC.

Nigeria's government this week ordered that travellers from DR Congo should be screened as an additional security measure after the fresh outbreak was confirmed, but the request was rejected by Nigeria's health workers' unions, who have been striking since April 18 over pay and conditions.

The White House said the funds were dormant and unnecessary given that the outbreak, which was far more severe and widespread than the current one, has been contained for years. Two of those cases are confirmed to be Ebola.

"This situation worries us and requires a very immediate and energetic response", he said at a news conference.

At least 17 people have died in DRC, the ninth outbreak recorded in the country.

The ministry said clinics and hospitals across the East African country have been provided with necessary equipment to treat suspected Ebola cases, and training is being provided to strengthen response capabilities.

"It is absolutely a dire scene in terms of infrastructure".

Salama also said the United Nations health organisation hoped to have a mobile lab up and running on site this weekend.

"We are very concerned and planning for all scenarios, including the worst case scenario", Peter Salama, WHO's Deputy Director-General of Emergency Preparedness and Response, told a regular United Nations briefing in Geneva.

The authorities of the Democratic Republic of the Congo declared the emergency, taken in connection with an outbreak of the Ebola virus.

"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".

NCDC added that when infected, a person with Ebola may present with symptoms such as sudden high fever, severe headache, muscle pain, weakness, fatigue, diarrhoea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

He said, however, that there are many complications in using an experimental vaccine, and it's not a simple logistical effort. World Health Organization does not at this time advise any restrictions on travel and trade to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki and her Tourism counterpart Najib Balala address the press after Ebola outbreak in DRC, May 11, 2018.