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Congo's Ebola outbreak may not be containable, CDC director says

09 November 2018

Meanwhile, Uganda will soon begin vaccinating frontline health workers against Ebola as the threat increases of the deadly virus.

186 total deaths have been reported.

Some sick people have refused to go to treatment centres, health-care workers are still being infected, and some people are dying of Ebola or spreading the virus to new areas.

Contact tracing is still of concern due to insecurity and persistent community resistance. The current Ebola outbreak is going on its fourth month, totaling 300 cases and 186 deaths as of November 4.

The ongoing Uganda vaccinations targeting frontline health workers will be carried out in five districts along the border with Congo. It is the first time the vaccine has been offered before an Ebola outbreak even starts.

This precaution is being taken because the health care officials are anxious that the infection would spread into the country from the borders shared with Democratic Republic of Congo.

Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) said there is not enough valid research to risk the health of pregnant women nor their future child with the investigational vaccine rVSV-ZEBOV.

At least 300 suspected cases have been reported in the DRC in the latest outbreak, with 265 confirmed. It's a war zone, with militant groups battling the government for control of various regions.

By comparison, the entire population of Liberia, one of the hardest hit countries during the West Africa Ebola epidemic of 2014 - 2016, is about 4.8 million.

Healthcare responders may consider vaccinating broader populations in place of the current vaccination strategy, which focuses on vaccinating people who have been exposed to Ebola patients.

In mid-October, the World Health Organization said it was "deeply concerned" by the outbreak, but the situation did not yet warrant being declared a global emergency.

This particular vaccine is now being administered in DRC and is demonstrating positive protective results and potency against the Ebola virus-Zaire type.

Ebola is a deadly viral infection that was first detected and identified in 1976.

Authorities insist vaccination will be totally voluntary and that frontline workers - who may include hospital cleaners and other auxilliary staff - would need to give "informed consent". The worst outbreak was in Uganda in 2000 and 2001, when 574 people were infected and 261 died.

Congo's Ebola outbreak may not be containable, CDC director says