More Merck Vaccines Are Headed to Eastern Congo Following New Ebola Outbreak

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Health workers in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will begin administering vaccinations against a new outbreak of Ebola virus starting Wednesday (August 8), Reuters reports.

The WHO says the same expert team that led the the vaccination program during a recent Ebola outbreak in Congo's Equateur province will be deployed to the cities of Beni and Mangina in North Kivu province, where Ebola was detected last week.

Samples from the six survivors were tested this week, and four were positive for Ebola.

A health worker checks people's temperatures as they disembark a plane at the airport in Kinshasa, Congo, June 2, 2018.

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Officials in the African nation have confirmed three deaths so far but believe the virus - considered one of the most lethal pathogens in existence - is responsible for scores more. He says there are now 16 confirmed cases of the hemorrhagic fever, 27 probable cases and 31 suspected ones under investigation.

"This is an active conflict zone".

Testing by the Institut National de Recherche Biomédicale has suggested that the virus causing this outbreak belongs to the Ebola Zaire species.

"This new cluster is occurring in an environment which is very different from where we were operating in the northwest", Peter Salama, WHO deputy director-general of Emergency Preparedness and Response, said.

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Nearly 1,000 people who have had "contact" with the virus have been registered in health zones under surveillance, it said. There also is frequent cross-border trade with Uganda, which could complicate containment of the disease. The major barrier will be safely accessing the affected population'.

World Health Organization has warned that this new outbreak poses a particular challenge as the region is a "war zone" with several active armed groups and tens of thousands of displaced people.

One of the biggest difficulties is geographical this time around: North Kivu Province borders Rwanda and Uganda, hosts more than 1 million displaced people, and has been the scene of intermittent fighting for decades.

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