New Ebola related deaths recorded in DR Congo

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Guillaume Ngoie Mwamba, director of the Expanded Program on Immunization, was the first Congolese to receive the vaccine in Mbandaka.

On Monday, the World Health Organization, together with local and worldwide partners, began administering Ebola vaccinations in the region, where at least 49 suspected cases have been reported since early April and at least 26 people are believed to have died.

"A death was recorded (on Sunday), while two people who had been confirmed as ill with the Ebola virus were cured on Saturday", he said.

So WHO, the country's Ministry of Health, Doctors Without Borders and other groups are embarking on what's called a "ring vaccination".

Salama, who visited Congo after the Ebola outbreak was first reported on May 8, said up to 1,000 people - first in Mbandaka and then in Bikoro and other affected areas -could be vaccinated within the next week.

Alarm bells sounded on Thursday when a first case was reported in Mbandaka, a city of around 1.2 million people located on the Congo River.

Health officials are anxious that Mbandaka's location on the Congo River, a major thoroughfare which makes up the border between the DRC and the Republic of Congo, could see Ebola spread to the capital Kinshasa downstream.

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In a hopeful sign, two patients who were confirmed as positive for Ebola have recovered and are returning to their homes, where they will be monitored, Ilunga said. It was developed during the world's worst Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in 2014-2016, which claimed 11,300 lives.

The WHO said vaccine manufacturer Merck has provided it with 8,640 doses of the vaccine, and an additional 8,000 doses are expected to be available in the coming days.

The DRC has faced nine outbreaks of the haemmorhagic fever since it was discovered along the country's Ebola River in 1976.

"Staff and volunteers are promoting accurate and timely information that helps people to take precautions and reduce their risk of contracting or transmitting the virus", Overcamp told CNA.

Health workers have unsheathed their experimental new weapon against the Ebola virus in the northwest reaches of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Despite the growing number of Ebola victims within DRC, Overcamp said her past experience has shown her that global collaboration can effectively overcome a unsafe outbreak. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has already mobilized its country office in Congo, which includes several experts who had extensive experience handling the 2014 West Africa epidemic. These people knew that more frequent hand washing, limited physical contact with suspected infected persons and taking precaution around burials were all preventive measures against the spread of disease.

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