Ebola: WHO declares outbreak in DR Congo

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Under an agreement between GAVI and Merck, the developer of an Ebola vaccine known as rVSV-ZEBOV, it said up to 300,000 doses of the shot would be available in case of an outbreak. The last outbreak of Ebola in Congo was in 2014 and dozens of people died.

This latest Ebola outbreak is Congo's eighth, the most of any country.

Though WHO has developed an experimental vaccine, the virus remains fatal in approximately 90% of infections. "The vaccine has shown high efficacy in clinical trials and could play a vital role in protecting the most vulnerable".

But some questions about the vaccine still remain. None of the 5,837 people who received the vaccine got the disease ten days after vaccination. The World Health Organization has sent specialists to the area, the Associated Press reports. "The world's first Ebola vaccine provides substantial protection", said Dr. Margaret Chan, director-general of the WHO, in a speech in Guinea this month.

Thousands more survivors have been left with long-term health problems and Liberia was only declared free of active Ebola virus transmission last June.

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Last week, the World Health Organization said nearly 12,000 people had participated in a ground-breaking vaccine trial the agency organized in Guinean capital Conakry through to January previous year.

The vaccine should not be given for mass immunization of the general population, the experts said.

"It's very important to find all the possible contacts of people who have been infected, who have been in contact with who, and see whether there is a possible continuation of infection and limit it as much as possible".

That outbreak saw 66 registered cases hit the district of Boende some 800 kilometers (500 miles) northeast of Kinshasa for an official fatality rate of 74.2 percent. The paper, funded by philanthropic and academic groups, including the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, Ford Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, had a sobering prediction: that at least one pandemic event will nearly certainly occur in the next 100 years and that there is a 20 percent chance of four or more. An MSF statement explains that they will be joined by 10 people from the DRC's Ministry of Health as well 15 tons of medical and logistical supplies sent by cargo plane from Kinshasa.

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