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Ebola: Medical workers in Congo city finish vaccination

Medical workers in Democratic Republic of Congo(DRC) on Tuesday concluded vaccination of Ebola patients in the city of Mbandaka with experimental vaccine, the health ministry said.Ebola spreads easily throughbodily fluids and the medicalstrategy involves vaccinating all the people a patient may have infected and then vaccinating a second “ring” of contacts around each of those potentialsufferers.That would include family members but also people who may have come into contact with a sufferer in church or on public transport, each a potential Ebola time-bomb who must be found and vaccinated by virus-hunting experts.The VSV-EBOV vaccine, developed by Merck, has been administered to 1,112 people, including 567 in the northwestern city.The ministry said that coversall known contacts of confirmed Ebola cases in thecity as well as those people’scontacts.There have been no new deaths from Ebola since May 25 and the last confirmed case was recorded on May 29, although health officials say it is too soon to make any definitive pronouncements about the outbreak’s course.The latest data from the health ministry shows 53 cases of Ebola in the outbreak, including 37 confirmed, 13 probable and three suspected cases.One new suspected case was recorded on Monday in the rural community of Ibokoand five suspected cases came back negative, the health ministry said.This is the ninth outbreak of Ebola in Congo since the disease was first detected inthe country in 1976.Health officials have moved aggressively to head off a repeat of the 2013-16 outbreak in West Africa that killed over 11,300 people.The vaccine was first rolled out in Mbandaka on May 21 and hailed as a paradigm shift in the fight againstEbola by the WHO.The WHO said on Friday that it was cautiously optimistic about the progress of the response yet Mbandaka’s location directly upstream the Congo River of the capital Kinshasa, a city of more than 10 million people, remains a concern.NAN

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