Health workers wear protective gear as they prepare to contract Ebola patients May 1
Nineteen people have died of Ebola in Congo when health officials plan to send an experimental vaccine to prevent the spread of the virus that killed thousands of people in West Africa a few years ago The World Health Organization said there were 39 confirmed and suspected cases of Ebola in the past five weeks, as the virus spreads to three rural areas in the northwest of the country, covering nearly 40 miles. Among the dead were three health workers. Health officials follow with nearly 400 people identified as having contacts from Ebola patients.
The Global Health Department announced last week its plans to ship the vaccine, developed by pharmaceutical company Merck in 2016. Health officials hope that the vaccine administered during a trial in Guinea, West Africa, in 2015 could have a major impact on the spread of Ebola, the Washington Post wrote last week. Of the 5,837 people who received the vaccine, rVSV-ZEBOV, no one came into contact with Ebola 10 days after vaccination
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, told reporters on Monday that the Agency has obtained permission from Congo's representatives to introduce the vaccine, which he hopes will arrive at the end of this week.
"Everything is already formally agreed, the vaccine is safe and effective and has already been tested, I think we can – everything is ready to use," he said.
WHO has a stock of 4,300 vaccine doses in Geneva, Stat News reports. Merck has also prescribed 300,000 doses of the emergency vaccine
Tedros said he had traveled to the remote area to personally assess their health needs.
"Being there is very, very important, if a general can not be in the front line with his troops, it is not a general … We have to show that this should really stop, and if my life in Danger is, my life is no better than any other, "said Tedros, a former Ethiopian health minister and the first African to become WHO Director-General. "We have to be where the problem lies."
WHO first learned of the outbreak of 8 May when the DRC's Ministry of Health confirmed two cases of Ebola in the town of Bikoro, the epicenter of the eruption. It is located in the Equateur province, in about 2.5 million people live.
The country has experienced eight Ebola epidemics over the past four decades. The last one happened last year, when four people died in Likati in the north of the country. An outbreak in 2014 killed 49 people
The largest Ebola outbreak in history devastated the West African countries of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. Almost 30,000 confirmed and suspicious cases were reported. A little more than 11,300 have died from 2014 to 2016.
The WHO recognized the botched handling of the massive outbreak and stated that it did not recognize early on that the West African countries, which are heavily affected by health infrastructures, are in immediate danger. According to an internal document draft drawn up by the Associated Press, "almost everyone found it not easy to write on the wall."
In early September 2016, more than 1,800 people died in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia and the Global Health Community still had no coordinated response. President Barack Obama later dispatched up to 3,000 troops to West Africa, an effort worth $ 750 million
The symptoms of Ebola usually manifest 8 to 10 days after exposure. These include fever, headache, diarrhea, vomiting and bleeding.
Trump wanted to make Americans seriously ill with Ebola from the US
How Ebola gets out of control
New Ebola outbreak declared in the Democratic Republic of the Congo