Published: Tue, May 15, 2018
Arts&Culture | By Antoinette Montgomery

World Health Organization gets approval to use Ebola vaccine in DR Congo

World Health Organization gets approval to use Ebola vaccine in DR Congo

On July 2, 2017 the World Health Organization declared the end of the most recent outbreak of Ebola in DRC, in which a total of four people died. "We already have three separate locations that are reporting cases", said the WHO's deputy director-general for emergency preparedness and response, Peter Salama.

In a statement released on Sunday, WHO announced that they will be providing resources to the area in order to combat the virus.

Last week, Peter Salama, deputy director-general of emergency preparedness and response at the World Health Organization, 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).

DRC is recording the latest cases of the virus after over a year since the outbreak killed four people.

Jašarević said that the origin of this outbreak is unknown, but there are epidemiologists investigating it.

The Bikoro area, where the outbreak is centered, borders the neighboring Republic of the Congo and the Congo River, the region's main trade route.

Although the DRC outbreak is of a different strain, the experimental vaccine is still thought to be safe and effective. "We have to get ahead of the curve and make promising diagnostics, drugs and vaccines for diseases we know could be a threat in the future".

According to Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, the current outbreak is the country's ninth Ebola outbreak and there is considerable expertise in-country. So far, at least 382 contacts have been identified. "We have better weapons this time".

Ebola then spreads through human-to-human transmission via direct contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people, and with surfaces and materials contaminated with these fluids.

The signs and symptoms of Ebola diseases include fever, severe headache, joint and muscle pain, diarrhoea, vomiting, abdominal pain. A person becomes infected after making contact with an infected animal, such as a fruit bat or primate.

In regards to human-to-human contact, the organisation says that healthy individuals should use gloves and proper equipment when in contact with infected individuals. CFRs typically hover around 50 percent, although children under the age of 5 are much more likely to die as a result of exposure to the virus.

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