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Ebola spreads to major Congo city as vaccines a concern

Ebola spreads to major Congo city as vaccines a concern

Health
The second-largest Ebola outbreak in history has spread to a major city in eastern Congo, as health experts worry whether the stock of an experimental vaccine will stand up to the demands of an epidemic with no end in sight. Butembo, with more than 1 million residents, is now reporting cases of the deadly hemorrhagic fever. That complicates Ebola containment work already challenged by rebel attacks elsewhere that have made tracking the virus almost impossible in some isolated villages. "We are very concerned by the epidemiological situation in the Butembo area," said John Johnson, project coordinator with Medecins Sans Frontieres in the city. New cases are increasing quickly in the eastern suburbs and outlying, isolated districts, the medical charity said. The outbreak declared on Aug. 1...
Battles over safe Ebola burials complicate work in Congo

Battles over safe Ebola burials complicate work in Congo

Health
A runaway hearse carrying an Ebola victim has become the latest example of sometimes violent community resistance that complicates efforts to contain a Congo outbreak, causing a worrying new rise in cases. The deadly virus' appearance for the first time in the far northeast has sparked fear. Suspected contacts of infected people have tried to slip away. Residents have assaulted health teams. The rate of new Ebola cases has more than doubled since the start of this month, experts say. Safe burials are particularly sensitive as some outraged family members reject health workers' guidance and put their own lives at risk. On Wednesday, a wary peace was negotiated over the body of an Ebola victim, one of 95 deaths among 170 confirmed cases so far, Congo's health ministry said. Her family dema...
Congo announces 6 new confirmed cases of Ebola virus

Congo announces 6 new confirmed cases of Ebola virus

Health
Congo's health ministry announced six new confirmed Ebola cases and two new suspected cases Tuesday as vaccinations entered a second day in an effort to contain the deadly virus in a city of more than 1 million. Dozens of health workers in the northwestern provincial capital, Mbandaka, have received vaccinations amid expectations that some will be deployed to the rural epicenter of the epidemic. Front-line workers are especially at risk of contracting the virus, which spreads in contact with the bodily fluids of infected people, including the dead. "In the next five days 100 people must be vaccinated, including 70 health professionals," Health Minister Oly Ilunga said. "The priority of the government is to ensure that all these brave health professionals can do their job safely." Congo's...
Congo reports one new Ebola death, prepares for vaccinations

Congo reports one new Ebola death, prepares for vaccinations

World
May 20 (UPI) -- The Democratic Republic of Congo's health ministry announced a new death in the Ebola outbreak Sunday, as the city of Mbandaka prepares to administer vaccinations. A total of 26 people have died in Congo's Equateur province since the outbreak began and four new cases of Ebola virus have been confirmed by the country's health ministry. There have been 46 total cases of the hemorrhagic fever reported, including 21 confirmed cases of Ebola, 21 probable cases and four suspected cases. Health authorities plan to begin administering vaccines in Mbandaka, which is home to 1.2 million people, on Monday in an attempt to "ringfence" the outbreak and keep it from spreading. About 4,000 doses of the vaccine have been delivered to the country and officials said more are expected to ar...
Congo to begin vaccinating against Ebola on Monday

Congo to begin vaccinating against Ebola on Monday

Health
Congo will begin administering an experimental Ebola vaccine Monday in Mbandaka, the northwestern city of 1.2 million where the deadly disease has infected some residents, Congo's health minister announced. "The vaccination campaign begins tomorrow, Monday, in Mbandaka, capital of the province. It will target, first, the health staff, the contacts of the sick and the contacts of the contacts," Minister of Health Oly Ilunga told The Associated Press Sunday. The death toll of the current Ebola outbreak has risen to 26. Initially, the campaign will target 600 people, mainly medical staff, contacts of suspected cases, and those who have been in contact with the contacts, said Ilunga. Officials are working urgently to prevent the disease from spreading beyond Mbandaka, which lies on the Congo...