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4,000 Ebola Vaccines Arrive In The Democratic Republic Of Congo, Officials Say

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The World Health Organization sent the Democratic Republic of Congo 4,000 vaccines in hopes that it would contain the country’s latest Ebola outbreak. The current Ebola outbreak was announced on May 8.  ( Cellou Binani | AFP/Getty Images )

Government officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo have announced that they received a vast amount of vaccines to counter the country's Ebola outbreak.

The 4,000 Vaccines

On Wednesday, May 16, the World Health Organization brought 4,000 experimental vaccines to Kinshasa, the DRC's capital city. The nation's Health Ministry revealed that they would begin to give out the medicine to their citizens sometime this weekend. WHO announced that this would be the first time that the health organization would be using this vaccine in two years.

Ebola Vaccine 101

The vaccine that WHO will be using to control the Ebola outbreak is an experimental vaccine called rVSV-ZEBOV. It was developed right after the end of another epidemic that took place in West Africa from 2014 to 2016. ABC News reported that more than 11,300 people died during the two-year period.

Heading Up North

A significant amount of the vaccines is being sent to the northwestern portion of the country. A WHO spokesperson stated that the region had two confirmed Ebola cases, 20 possible, and 20 suspected cases. The first people that will receive the immunizations would be health care workers, people who contracted the virus, and their contacts.

The health organization described this method as "ring vaccination." WHO spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic added that the health organization would send an additional 4,000 batches of the vaccine to the DRC in the future.

"In our experience, for each confirmed case of Ebola, there are about 100-150 contacts and contacts of contacts eligible for vaccination. So it means this first shipment would be probably enough for around 25-26 rings - each around one confirmed case," said Jasarevic to Reuters.

African Countries On High Alert

Throughout the continent, various countries are preparing to face the virus head-on. The Nigerian Civil Aviation Association precautioned all airlines that were conducting regional and international trips to remain vigilant and to prevent Ebola from spreading. The Nigerian government also reopened its Emergency Operation Centers, which were used during the 2014 Ebola outbreak. Government officials from both Guinea and Gambia also added more screening measures for travelers coming to the countries to minimize risks.

Retracing The Outbreak

WHO made the DRC's Ebola outbreak publicly known on May 8. The outbreak declaration was created when two out of five patients at the Institut National de Recherche Biomedicale in Bikoro, a town located in the Equateur Province. This is the ninth time that the DRC is dealing with the disease.

Ebola is a virus that affects both humans and primates such as gorillas and monkeys. When someone is diagnosed with Ebola, they will show symptoms such as sore throat, sudden fever, and muscle pain. As Ebola progresses, patients would also deal with diarrhea, internal or external bleeding, and vomiting.

Tech Times reached out to the World Health Organization for a comment on this story.

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