Tuesday, 20 November, 2018

UN vows to tackle DR Congo rebels, contain Ebola

An electron micrograph scan shows the Ebola virus emerging from an infected cell NIAID NIHAn electron micrograph scan shows the Ebola virus emerging from an infected cell
Anna Jefferson | 09 November, 2018, 01:15

Meanwhile, Uganda will soon begin vaccinating frontline health workers against Ebola as the threat increases of the deadly virus.

Jane Aceng, Uganda's health minister in a statement added, "The public health risk of cross border transmission of Ebola to Uganda [from DRC] was assessed to be very high at the national level".

The Ebola virus is spread through direct contact with the fluids of an infected person, or objects that have been contaminated with infected secretions.

According to the World Health Organization, until November 1 there were 279 cases of Ebola infection in the DRC, 244 confirmed by laboratory tests, 179 people died as a result of the disease and 81 people were able to recover.

"Compassionate use of the Ebola vaccine for health care and frontline workers", will begin on Monday, she told journalists.

Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam, WHO's Uganda representative said, "In previous [Ebola] outbreaks, Uganda lost health workers, including the renowned Dr Matthew Lukwiya, as they cared for patients".

It will be the first time the vaccine is used in a country not in the midst of an active Ebola outbreak.

It is the tenth outbreak of Ebola in the country, then called Zaire, where the disease was first detected in 1976.

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In 2015, the vaccine was given to over 16,000 volunteers involved in several studies in Africa, Europe and the United States.

This Merck vaccine candidate rVSV-Ebola was also used in the Ebola outbreak in Equateur province in May-July 2018.

In this strategy, informed and written consent is needed from people, for them to be vaccinated which in turn may limit mass media coverage of the exercise.

Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) said there is not enough valid research to risk the health of pregnant women nor their future child with the investigational vaccine rVSV-ZEBOV.

"The vaccine is not available to the general population at this stage".

No cases have been reported in Uganda so far, but health care workers in high-risk districts bordering the Congo are getting vaccinated as a precaution, health officials said.

He assured of its potency and ability to protect them effectively.

The targeted districts are Kabarole, Bunyangabo, Kasese, Bundibugyo and Ntoroko, where there is an outbreak of the highly contagious disease.

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