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  • New Ebola Outbreak in Congo – Spread May Continue for Months – Is There an Ebola Vaccine?

    The new Ebola outbreak will persist for more than six months. What are the reasons? Is there an Ebola vaccine available?

    January 21, 2019 | Related: ,

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    Health professionals examining someone with Ebola disease.

    No Ebola vaccine yet. But there is a new Ebola outbreak in Congo. It is now considered as the second-largest outbreak in history. According to the Center for Infection Disease Research and Policy, 410 people have already died. 

    The new Ebola outbreak will persist for more than six months, the Center said. The community resisted treatment and there is violence against health workers, it becomes difficult to contain the disease. 

    The Ebola outbreak in 2018 started in July 2018. The country recorded 668 cases and 410 deaths in this new outbreak. 

    The epidemic originated in Beni that has a population of 232,000. However, it spread to Butembo, a city in North Kivu with over a million population. The World Health Organization (WHO) focused its efforts to halt the spread to Goma and Bukavu. They are cities situated further south of Butembo with millions of people living. The WHO stated that if the new Ebola outbreak reaches those two cities, “all bets are off.”

    War Zone

    One of the reasons it stays to spread is the ongoing war in the affected areas. As a result of the continuing war, the disease spreads in an uncontrolled fashion, resulting in new cases showing up in unexpected areas. 

    Contact tracing is a method to determine possible chains of transmission before they arise. In this method, medical professionals will identify patients who might have contact with an Ebola sufferer. Once identified, they are given a vaccine. 

    However, the continuing war makes it impossible for health professionals to conduct contact tracing. As a result, 70% of the newly discovered cases are from those areas outside the chains of transmission. 

    Cases of Rape 

    Another problem with the continuing war is that rape in the war zone is common. Thus, the disease can be spread easily among soldiers, gangs, women, and rapists. 

    Then, there is the government. The capital city of the Democratic Republic of Congo is miles away from the outbreak region. Furthermore, the government is in crisis. In that case, there is no way to tell who will lead in solving this new Ebola outbreak in DRC.

    Months ago, health officials in the US complained that the Trump administration would not permit any US government employees to be traveling to North Kivu as the situation there is too risky for them. 

    Ebola Vaccine

    Syringes filled with Ebola vaccine.

    There is a new diagnostic testing for this disease. But there is no licensed vaccine yet for Ebola virus disease. However, there is an investigational vaccine known as rVSV-ZEBOV. It has been shown to be safe. It could protect the person against the Zaire strain of the virus. The Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) 1 recommended it to be used in Ebola outbreaks but only in cases generated by the Zaire strain of the Ebola virus. 

    This experimental Ebola vaccine contains vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV). It is an animal virus that causes flu-like symptoms in humans. The VSV in this vaccine is genetically engineered to include a protein from the Zaire Ebola virus. The goal is to cause an immune reaction to the virus. 

    WHO predicts that the new Ebola outbreak will go on for more than six months or longer. However, if the disease could be contained, it could be restarted quickly. The reason for this is that the disease can still be transferred sexually up to 18 months after the sufferer has been cured.

    For your health and wellness, avoid traveling to Africa with known outbreaks. Then, avoid or do not eat wild animals, like nonhuman primates, which are commonly sold in the local markets.

    About the author

    Janey Danes Janey Danes started her career as a part-time article writer, editor and proofreader in 2008. She specializes in topics related to health, travel, technology, family, and spiritual life. Danes is a licensed medical technologist and she holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Information Technology. She is also a contributor to Travel Philippines | Entertainment and Medical Technology Avenue. You can also find her on Google+.

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