Kinshasa/Brazzaville — The Democratic Republic of the Congo started giving out Ebola vaccinations today in Mbandaka, the capital of Equateur Province in the country’s north, to prevent the virus from spreading after an outbreak that has claimed two lives since April 21.
From Goma in the east, Mbandaka got two hundred doses of the Ebola vaccine rVSV-ZEBOV. More doses will be given out over the next three days. The “ring method” is used to give the vaccine to contacts and contacts of contacts of confirmed Ebola patients, as well as frontline and health workers.
There are currently two hundred thirty three contacts being tracked. Three vaccination teams have already arrived on the scene and will endeavor to contact all high-risk individuals. Since the epidemic began, two instances have been confirmed, both of whom are died. Only the Mbandaka health district has reported the sickness so far.
“We can immediately turn the trajectory of this epidemic for the better with effective vaccinations on hand and the expertise of health professionals in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Ebola management,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “To safeguard and preserve lives, we are assisting the government in all important parts of the Ebola emergency response.”
In addition to vaccination, national health officials have increased their reaction. Mbandaka has established a twenty-bed Ebola treatment facility. To detect any new infections, WHO is conducting disease surveillance and investigating suspected cases, with six epidemiologists assisting in the response.
The National Institute for Biomedical Research of the nation has finished an investigation of a sample from the first verified case, with the findings indicating that the latest epidemic implies a fresh spill-over event from the host or animal reservoir. The source of the latest epidemic is still being investigated, as is how it infected the first known patient.
Since 1976, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has had 14 Ebola outbreaks, six of which have happened only this year. The country has acquired homegrown expertise capable of establishing an efficient Ebola response over the years, with the help of WHO and other partners and donors.
It is paying dividends to invest in local expertise. Surveillance, identification, and response to outbreaks have all increased dramatically.