Ebola vaccine arrives in DR Congo amid outbreak

Ebola vaccine arrives in DR Congo amid outbreak

Ebola vaccine arrives in DR Congo amid outbreak

The latest outbreak of Ebola has spread to a large city in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, according to the country's health minister.

"We are entering a new phase of the Ebola outbreak that is now affecting three health zones, including an urban health zone", Health Minister Oly Ilunga Kalenga said in a statement.

Adding to concerns is the city's location on the banks of the Congo River, a major thoroughfare for trade and transport into the capital, Kinshasa.

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Congolese authorities declared the outbreak in the northwest region near Congo-Brazzaville on May 8, and three have died from the disease, according to an official toll.

Congo has reported 23 deaths among the 42 suspected, probable and confirmed cases.

It can spread rapidly through contact with small amounts of bodily fluid and its early flu-like symptoms are not always obvious. He said epidemiologists are working to identify additional contacts to the 500 already identified.

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He said the lists of those exposed to suspected Ebola cases would receive, for the first time in Congo, a new component of response to an Ebola outbreak: vaccinations.

The World Health Organization says more doses "should be deployed in the coming days".

"This is a concerning development, but we now have better tools than ever before to combat Ebola", said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.

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In this UNICEF photograph on May 13, 2018, a health worker wears protective equipment as he looks on at Bikoro Hospital - the epicenter of the latest Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo which has sealed off a ward to diagnose and treat suspected patients.

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