Congo's health ministry says doses of Ebola vaccine arrive

Congo's health ministry says doses of Ebola vaccine arrive

According to the minister, with this new case confirmed, the DRC is entering a new phase of the Ebola epidemic which now affects three health zones, including an urban health zone.

"One new case of Ebola virus disease has been confirmed in Wangata, one of the three health zones of Mbandaka, a city of almost 1.2 million people in Equateur Province in northwestern Democratic Republic of the Congo", the UN's health agency said in a statement.

The World Health Organisation, which is deploying vaccines to the country, previously expressed its concerns of the disease reaching the city of Mbandaka. So far, 23 people are known to have died while 42 others have been infected since the outbreak started earlier this month.

He said authorities would intensify population tracing at all air, river and road routes out of the city. "Since the announcement of the alert in Mbandaka, our epidemiologists are working in the field to identify people who have been in contact with suspected cases".

DR Congo faces Ebola outbreak
DR Congo faces Ebola outbreak

Ebola is a serious infectious illness that causes internal bleeding and often proves fatal.

Spokeswoman Jessica Ilunga says the vaccines will be sent to Mbandaka and Bikoro, the rural areas where two confirmed cases and several suspected cases have been reported.

"In our experience, for each confirmed case of Ebola there are about 100-150 contacts and contacts of contacts eligible for vaccination", Jasarevic said. The health body also sent 300 body bags for safe burials in affected communities.

The 2014-16 West Africa outbreak, which killed 11,300 people, was particularly deadly because it spread to the capital cities of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. It will be reserved for people suspected of coming in contact with the disease.

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