Urgent Ebola vaccine campaign in Congo as second person dies in new outbreak


“Mbandaka is right there on the Congo river, it is very connected to Kinshasa,” he said. “[We need to be] alert and vigilant in the face of this virus, while at the same time using and exploiting the new technologies and the greater level of surveillance.”

He also warned that health workers are at high risk. “We are definitely struggling with the very straightforward issue of infection prevention and control and staff protection, and then managing infections within the hospital environment – potentially allowing these diseases to amplify.”

But Dr Ryan added the DRC is in a better position to respond to this outbreak, the 14th to emerge in the country since the disease was first identified in 1976. 

“The speed at which we’re able to detect, the speed at which we’re able to react… the ability to have Ebola vaccine where Ebola happens, where Ebola is likely to do most damage and amplify… I think we are making progress, and this demonstrates this,” he said.

Ring vaccination strategy deployed

On Wednesday, some 200 doses of the rVSV-ZEBOV Ebola vaccine were shipped to Mbandaka from the eastern city of Goma – which has been at the forefront of many recent outbreaks. The WHO said more doses will be delivered in the coming days.

The vaccination campaign uses a “ring strategy” where all contacts of confirmed Ebola patients, and contacts of contacts are jabbed along with frontline and health workers. 

“With effective vaccines at hand and the experience of the Democratic Republic of the Congo health workers in Ebola response, we can quickly change the course of this outbreak for the better,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, head of WHO Africa. 


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