Congo's health ministry says doses of Ebola vaccine arrive

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Thousands of doses of Ebola vaccine have arrived the Democratic Republic of Congo, as the country battles outbreak of the disease.

"This weekend, two suspected cases of hemorrhagic fever were reported in the health zone of Wangata, one of the health zones of Mbandaka City".

The World Health Organisation, which is deploying vaccines in the country, had expressed concern about the disease reaching the north-western city, which would make the outbreak, already believed to have killed 23 people, far harder to tackle.

They would be kept in Kinshasa until a refrigerated transportation chain could be guaranteed. The other cities in the province of Equateur as well as the cities upstream and downstream of Mbandaka on the river are also placed under health surveillance, "said the minister".

This Ebola recurrence is the ninth DRC has faced in 4 decades after the first in 1976.


The WHO has also exported over 4000 doses of experimental vaccine to affected areas in Congo, with more aid expected soon, said the report. The Health Ministry said vaccinations would start by early next week, the first time the vaccine would come into use since it was developed two years ago.

Forty-four cases have been reported in the outbreak so far, including three confirmed, 20 probable and 21 suspected, according to the WHO's tally.

The medicines, manufactured by Merck is unlicensed as of yet, but has been effective in treating the infected patients in West Africa.

Senior World Health Organization (WHO) official, Peter Salama, said the spread to Mbandaka meant there was the potential for an "explosive increase" in cases.

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