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Confirmed Ebola cases in Congo spikes to 39

15 May 2018

Doctor Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, on a two-visit to DR Congo, said the suspected new case was in Bikoro, at the centre of the latest Ebola outbreak in the country's northwest, where so far 18 people have died. More than 11,000 of those infected by the virus died, and case fatality rates (CFR) ranged anywhere from 50 to 70 percent, depending on the study, although some health experts believe the percentage may have been slightly lower.

The vaccine was developed by the Canadian government and is now licensed to the US -based Merck. Health officials hope the vaccine, which was given to people in Guinea in West Africa during a trial in 2015, could be a game-changer in preventing Ebola from spreading, The Washington Post's Siobhán O'Grady wrote last week.

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The WHO says the vaccine, called rVSV-ZEBOV, has been been tested in thousands of volunteers in Europe, Africa and the United States and was judged safe for humans.

On Sunday, a World Health Organization delegation including the agency's director, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Gehbreyesus, visited the town of Bikoro, the center of the current outbreak. He said World Health Organization has an agreement with DRC including all the necessary registration and import permits.

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The virus is caused by one of five Ebola viruses was first discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo. "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".

In an interview with The New Times on Monday, Dr. Diane Gashumba, the Minister for Health said no signs of Ebola have so far been detected on Rwandan soil and that the ministry is working with different stakeholders to ensure citizens are protected from the outbreak. According to Jašarević, this is the ninth Ebola outbreak in DRC and that it is "endemic" to the country.

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By the time the Ebola outbreak was recognized in Guinea in March 2014, almost 60 people had already died. Almost 30,000 confirmed and suspected cases were reported. Later symptoms include "vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, symptoms of impaired kidney and liver function and internal and external bleeding", according to WHO. The outbreak in the Equateur Province of the DRC is the first to raise global alarm bells since the deadly crisis that left over 11,300 people dead in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea between 2014 and 2016.

Confirmed Ebola cases in Congo spikes to 39