Ebola Virus Kills Two Soldiers In DR Congo

Ebola Virus Kills Two Soldiers In DR Congo

The Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is not only spreading but is extending southward into a "high security risk area", United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Tuesday.

As part of these preparedness activities, South Sudan received 2 160 doses of the Ebola vaccine (rVSV-ZEBOV) from Merck, the vaccine developer.

Since the outbreak was declared in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on August 1, a total of 736 people have reported symptoms of hemorrhagic fever in the country's northeastern provinces of North Kivu and Ituri.

"But, South Sudan is at particularly high risk of imported cases due to the cross-border movement of people and goods, hence protecting frontline and health care workers from getting infected with Ebola is the highest priority for the Ministry of Health in South Sudan", Kok told journalists in Juba.

Among 733 cases of reported hemorrhagic fever, 679 were confirmed to be Ebola cases, the ministry said.

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The UN health agency said it has helped train 60 health workers in good clinical practice principles and protocol procedures to administer the yet-to-be-licensed Ebola vaccine.

The South Sudan Ministry of Health, with the support of its partners, has established 17 screening points to detect any travellers entering the country, who may be infected with the virus. Almost 1 million people have been screened to date, majority of them e from DRC. Local laboratory capacity to test samples taken from people suspected of having Ebola is also being strengthened.

But the outbreak in a region of Congo with frequent fighting makes it hard for health workers to move around and monitor potential sufferers and to spread messages about how to avoid becoming sick.

Uganda started vaccinating its health workers and front-line responders against Ebola in November. Since then, the WHO has reported that 61 health workers in DRC have been infected with Ebola, and 21 of those workers have died. "The outbreak has also extended southwards to Kayina health zone, a high security risk area", WHO explained. Rwanda also plans to vaccinate its frontline responders, according to World Health Organization statistics. The vaccine offers protection against the Zaire strain of the virus. The vaccine is being provided under what is known as "compassionate use" in the ongoing Ebola outbreak in DRC's North Kivu Province, as part of the recommendations from the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunisation.

"The country is not only facing Ebola but other health threats, just to name malaria, cholera, vaccine-derived polio, and also a very long humanitarian crisis and a lot of violence in several regions".

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