STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

WHO deploys vaccines, emergency teams to control Ebola outbreak

The World Health Organization has deployed 4,000 doses of vaccine along with emergency teams and equipment to the Dem...

Posted: May 14, 2018 6:42 PM
Updated: May 14, 2018 6:42 PM

The World Health Organization has deployed 4,000 doses of vaccine along with emergency teams and equipment to the Democratic Republic of Congo to control an outbreak of Ebola, which is suspected to have infected 39 people, including 19 deaths.

The UN agency is working with the country's Ministry of Health and international nongovernmental organization M-decins Sans Fronti-res to conduct ring vaccinations across the affected region, where contacts of those infected, followed by contacts of those contacts, would all be vaccinated.

World Health Organization has deployed 4,000 doses of vaccine to the Democratic Republic of Congo

It will be given to contacts of those infected, health care workers and front-line workers

Though 4,000 doses have been shipped, more are expected to be sent out, WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevik confirmed.

The latest outbreak is occurring in the northwest of country, in the Bikoro health zone, 400 kilometers (about 250 miles) from Mbandaka, the capital of Equateur province.

Of the 39 cases of Ebola reported since April 5, two have been confirmed using laboratory tests.

A further 362 people at risk have been identified using contact tracing, said Dr. Ibrahima-Soce Fall, WHO regional emergency director for Africa.

"This outbreak is very close to the Republic of Congo and Central African Republic. And we are taking it very seriously because it is close to Mbandaka, a city of 1 million people," Fall said, adding that there are two suspected cases in Mbandaka, and the patients are being held in isolation.

The Ebola vaccine being provided -- called rVSV-ZEBOV -- is an experimental vaccine that has been shown to be safe in humans and highly effective against the Ebola virus, according to the WHO. A 2016 study found it to be 100% effective in trials in Guinea in coordination with the country's Ministry of Health after the 2014-15 outbreak.

In Congo, vaccines will also be administered to local and international health care workers and front-line workers in both affected areas as well as the regions expected to be at risk should the outbreak continue to spread.

Any other persons with potential exposure to Ebola, such as laboratory workers, surveillance and contact teams, will also be vaccinated.

Anyone receiving the vaccine will then be checked three, 14, 21, 42, 63 and 84 days later.

"Because it is an experimental vaccine, there are several steps to observe," Jasarevik said. In addition to an importation license, the WHO needs formal agreement on the research protocols with the government and local ethical review board approval for reasons of liability, and legal and insurance issues associated with use of experimental products, he added.

Last week, Peter Salama, deputy director-general of emergency preparedness and response at the WHO, pointed out that use of the vaccine comes with many challenges, as it needs to be stored long-term at temperatures between minus 60 and minus 80 degrees Celsius (minus 76 to minus 112 Fahrenheit).

"This is not a simple logistical effort; it's not like doing a polio campaign with oral polio vaccines, where we get it immediately out to the field. This is a highly complex sophisticated operation in one of the most difficult terrains on Earth," Salama said.

The disease is endemic to the Democratic Republic of Congo, and this is the nation's ninth outbreak since the discovery of the virus in the country in 1976.

"We know what we need to do, but we must do it quickly," Fall said.

Ebola virus disease, which most commonly affects people and nonhuman primates such as monkeys, gorillas and chimpanzees, is caused by one of five Ebola viruses. On average, about 50% of people who become ill with Ebola die.

The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission, either through direct contact with bodily fluids such as blood or secretions or contact with materials that are contaminated with these liquids.

Personal protective equipment, body bags, boxes for transportation and interagency emergency health kits have been sent to the affected region.

M-decins Sans Fronti-res has set up four five-bed mobile isolation units to increase the hospital bed capacity in Bikoro, which is currently 15 beds. Bikoro hospital has sealed off a ward to diagnose suspected Ebola patients and provide treatment, according to UNICEF.

West Africa experienced the largest recorded outbreak of Ebola over a two-year period beginning in March 2014; a total of 28,616 confirmed, probable and suspected cases were reported in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, with 11,310 deaths, according to the WHO.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 93012

Reported Deaths: 2040
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin26447926
Ramsey10697319
Dakota7354125
Anoka5935132
Stearns390924
Washington368955
Scott250033
Olmsted236728
Nobles195416
Blue Earth16476
Wright15737
St. Louis148039
Carver13897
Clay134040
Rice13228
Mower13125
Sherburne112514
Kandiyohi9722
Winona86318
Lyon6674
Waseca6128
Steele5332
Freeborn5323
Benton5303
Nicollet52116
Watonwan5164
Todd4872
Crow Wing48118
McLeod4752
Chisago4711
Le Sueur4524
Otter Tail4224
Beltrami4055
Martin37210
Goodhue3519
Pine3090
Itasca30314
Polk2984
Douglas2862
Isanti2790
Becker2642
Carlton2561
Cottonwood2240
Morrison2221
Dodge2180
Pipestone21710
Chippewa2061
Meeker1942
Sibley1863
Wabasha1830
Brown1822
Yellow Medicine1752
Rock1640
Cass1593
Murray1582
Mille Lacs1543
Redwood1541
Unassigned15052
Renville1427
Jackson1411
Faribault1360
Swift1271
Houston1210
Koochiching1213
Kanabec1178
Roseau1170
Pennington1161
Fillmore1110
Lincoln1080
Hubbard941
Stevens941
Pope920
Big Stone760
Aitkin751
Wadena670
Wilkin613
Grant594
Lake580
Norman530
Lac qui Parle501
Marshall501
Mahnomen461
Red Lake421
Traverse290
Clearwater270
Lake of the Woods211
Kittson120
Cook60

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 83644

Reported Deaths: 1294
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk15697261
Woodbury526363
Johnson508627
Black Hawk443688
Linn3941110
Story340517
Dubuque310141
Scott292628
Dallas275138
Pottawattamie206838
Buena Vista197212
Marshall177034
Sioux15043
Wapello131457
Webster121614
Plymouth110420
Clinton109920
Muscatine109154
Crawford10655
Cerro Gordo101821
Warren9486
Jasper81732
Des Moines7647
Marion7536
Tama70431
Henry6854
Carroll6535
Lee6207
Wright5721
Dickinson5086
Boone5008
Bremer4837
Washington45311
Louisa42815
Mahaska39119
Delaware3833
Franklin34618
Floyd3363
Jackson3303
Winneshiek3246
Hamilton3223
Clay3164
Lyon3074
Benton3061
Hardin2951
Winnebago28913
Poweshiek2788
Butler2672
Buchanan2651
Clarke2643
Jones2643
Emmet26010
Shelby2581
Allamakee2566
Kossuth2540
Chickasaw2470
Clayton2443
Sac2440
Guthrie2416
Cedar2381
Cherokee2352
Grundy2193
Madison2122
Fayette2112
Harrison2073
Iowa1981
Mitchell1880
Howard1866
Humboldt1843
Palo Alto1830
Calhoun1793
Hancock1772
Mills1771
Cass1602
Monroe15710
Pocahontas1562
Lucas1536
Page1530
Osceola1510
Monona1451
Jefferson1371
Appanoose1333
Union1283
Taylor1271
Davis1244
Ida1151
Van Buren1131
Fremont1100
Keokuk1051
Worth1040
Greene990
Montgomery905
Wayne852
Audubon811
Adair691
Decatur670
Ringgold492
Adams330
Unassigned40
Rochester
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 81°
Mason City
Clear
85° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 86°
Albert Lea
Clear
84° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 85°
Austin
Clear
84° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 86°
Charles City
Clear
84° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 85°
Cooler temperatures are almost here
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Community Events