DRC – The Democratic Republic of the Congo has launched an Ebola vaccination drive in Mbandaka, the capital city of Equateur Province to control further spread of the contagious viral disease amid outbreak in the region.

The country has also established an Ebola treatment center with a 20-bed capacity in Mbandaka to support health authorities in key aspects of Ebola emergency response to protect and save lives.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Ebola virus disease is a severe deadly illness affecting humans with case fatality rates ranging from 25% to 90% in past outbreaks.

The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals such as fruit bats, porcupines and non-human primates then spreads in the human population through direct contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people.

The infectious disease has an effective treatment available which significantly improves chances of survival if patients receive treatment early coupled supportive care along with community engagement to successfully controlling outbreaks.

Democratic Republic of the Congo declared an outbreak of Ebola which has claimed two lives since 21st April after a case was confirmed in Mbandaka.

Consequently, the country has launched Ebola vaccination campaigns in the Mbandaka region after Congo health authorities received around 200 doses of the rVSV-ZEBOV Ebola vaccine which were shipped to Mbandaka from the eastern city of Goma.

The national health authorities are administering the vaccines through the ‘ring vaccination’ strategy where contacts and contacts of contacts of confirmed Ebola patients are vaccinated along with frontline and health workers to curb the spread of the virus and protect lives.

The health officials have identified 233 persons who came in contact with the deceased patients so far and are currently monitoring their health in Mbandaka health district.

In addition, three vaccination teams have been dispatched working to reach all the people at high risk while Congo health authorities are carrying out investigations to determine the source of the Ebola virus outbreak.

The National Institute for Biomedical Research has completed an analysis of a sample from the first confirmed case with results showing that the new outbreak indicates a new spill-over event from the host or animal reservoir.

The World Health organization has provided material supports along with six epidemiologists to assist in disease surveillance and investigation of suspected cases to detect any new infections.

The DRC government has also reassured that more vaccines will be dispatched to Mbandaka with stockpiles of the rVSV-ZEBOV Ebola vaccine available in the cities of Goma and Kinshasa.

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