Vaccination Campaign Begins
To halt the spread of the disease and to prevent more deaths, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has launched an emergency Ebola vaccination campaign in the country’s high risk populations in North Kivu.
The latest outbreak that killed around 36 people has alarmed the African nation and the World Health Organization.
WHO reports say, a total of 43 cases of Ebola have been reported so far, of which 16 have been confirmed, the WHO said in a statistics bulletin. Of the 34 reported deaths, seven had been confirmed.
Ebola vaccines are a potent tool to counter the spread the disease. That is why the health ministry and WHO are responding with immediacy to launch the vaccination campaign the soonest possible.
“Vaccines are an important tool in the fight against Ebola. This is why it has been a priority to move them rapidly into place to begin protecting our health workers and the affected population,” said DRC Health Minister Dr. Oly Ilunga.
As front liners of the vaccination campaign, the provincial health coordinator and health workers were the first people to be administered the ebola vaccine.
A total of 3,220 doses of rVSV-ZEBOV Ebola vaccine are currently available in the country, while supplementary doses have been requested.
New Ebola Vaccine Heads To Congo
In 2017, in an effort to counter the ongoing spread of ebola, Democratic Republic of Congo approved the use of a new vaccine considered to be highly protective against the disease.
The vaccine, known as rVSV-ZEBOV and developed by Merck, took about two decades to develop. Though not yet licensed, it is expected to be given approval by World Health Organization or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration by 2018.
The powerful vaccine was created through brilliant collaboration of scientists in the U.S. and Canada. The scientists started working on it back in the 1990s and early 2000s. However, lack of funding put the vaccine on the shelf for years.
The 2014 outbreak triggered people in Europe and the United States to reach out and provided the political and economic drive to make an effective vaccine.
Toward the end of the outbreak in West Africa, scientists began testing the vaccine in a large trial with more than 4,000 people. The efficacy of the vaccine was commendable. The vaccine was proven effective and offers 100% protection. Aside from that, the vaccine opens up new, faster, more efficient ways to encircle and strangle the virus.
Cases of Ebola
Last year, The country reported about 52 total suspected cases. The first known case occurred on April 22, when a 39-year-old man who had fever, vomiting, diarrhea and bleeding died on the way to a hospital. The person caring for him and a motorcyclist who transported him also died.
Amid reports of the ongoing outbreak, the country’s health experts stressed that the situation is under control. In fact, the outbreak already shows signs of slowing down and there hasn’t been a new confirmed case since May 11.
Ebola is a hemorrhagic fever with symptoms similar to that of extreme radiation exposure. Hemorrhagic refers to blood and a hemorrhagic disease is one which essentially breaks down the blood vessels and blood leaks into the body, lungs, and intestines.