WHO confirms strain of latest Ebola outbreak, to start vaccinations

Ebola case in DR Congo
In this photo taken Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, a health worker as he examines patients for Ebola inside a screening tent, at the Kenema Government Hospital situated in the Eastern Province around 300km, (186 miles), from the capital city of Freetown in Kenema, Sierra Leone. Over the decades, Ebola cases have been confirmed in 10 African countries, including Congo where the disease was first reported in 1976. But until this year, Ebola had never come to West Africa. (AP Photo/ Michael Duff)
[Photo Source: VOA News]

The Ebola outbreak in Congo is confirmed to be the Zaire strain of the virus and vaccinations of health workers may start as early as Wednesday, a senior official of the World Health Organization (WHO) has said.

Peter Salama, WHO deputy director for emergency preparedness and response, gave the results of genetic sequencing in a tweet saying that analysis showed it was a new outbreak in North Kivu province.

“We can start using rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine as early as tomorrow.”

The experimental vaccine, which is manufactured by Merck, proved successful during its first wide-scale usage against an outbreak of Zaire virus on the other side of Congo in the northwest that was declared over less than two weeks ago after killing 33.

More than 3,000 doses remain in stock in the capital Kinshasa, allowing authorities to quickly deploy it to the affected areas near the Ugandan border.

The vaccine normally needs to be kept at 80 degrees Celsius below freezing (minus 112 Fahrenheit), although it can be stored for a couple of weeks at just above freezing.

(Reuters/NAN)

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