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15:33Mobile Lab in DRC's Bikoro to Tackle New Ebola Outbreak

15 May 2018

The latest suspected case was reported on Friday in the northwestern province of Equateur, which Health Minister Oly Ilunga Kalenga visited on Saturday with officials from the WHO and U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF). After that, vaccination of health care workers and people who have been in contact with cases will begin.

Of the 39 cases of Ebola reported since April 5, two have been confirmed using laboratory tests.

The Democratic Republic of Congo will allow a Canadian-developed experimental vaccine in to the country to combat the recent outbreak of Ebola. Of the 34 suspected cases, two were confirmed, 18 have been classified as probable and 12 remains suspected cases. To date, 382 contacts have been identified, Tedros said.

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Though additional information on the outbreak is limited, the event did not trigger a public health warning, the organisation said. A 2016 study found it to be 100% effective in trials in Guinea in coordination with the country's Ministry of Health after the 2014-15 outbreak. While outbreaks in remote areas usually mean the disease can be contained, on this occasion suspected cases have been reported in three locations spread over 60km.

"Because it is an experimental vaccine, there are several steps to observe", Jasarevik said.

World Health Organization has released $1 million USA dollars from the contingency fund for emergencies, the United Nations has released $2 million U.S. dollars from the Central Emergency Response Funds, and the Welcome Trust has provided 2 million pounds sterling for critical research needs.

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Last week, Peter Salama, deputy director-general of emergency preparedness and response at the World Health Organization, pointed out that use of the vaccine comes with many challenges, as it needs to be stored long-term at temperatures between minus 60 and minus 80 degrees Celsius (minus 76 to minus 112 Fahrenheit).

Transporting the vaccines to the affected area would be logistically challenging. That work is vital both to encourage people to agree to be vaccinated and to figure out if any local practices are increasing the risk the virus will spread.

"At present", the agency added, "this event does not meet the criteria of a public health event of global concern".

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The dreaded Ebola virus has resurfaced in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but the governments of Africa and the United Nations are now better equipped to deal with the disease before it again claims thousands of lives.

15:33Mobile Lab in DRC's Bikoro to Tackle New Ebola Outbreak