Uganda’s Ebola vaccination for high-risk health workers postponed

An electron micrograph scan shows the Ebola virus emerging from an infected cell

NIAID NIHAn electron micrograph scan shows the Ebola virus emerging from an infected cell

The vaccination programme launches on Wednesday with support from the World Health Organization, targeting 2,000 frontline workers in districts close to DRC's North Kivu province, which is now experiencing an outbreak of the deadly virus. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.November 7, 2018 / 4:30 PM GMTBy Maggie FoxHealth workers started vaccinating people in Uganda against Ebola virus on Wednesday, the first time the vaccine has been given in a country before an outbreak even starts.Officials are afraid the virus is going to spread across the border from the Democratic Republic of Congo, where an outbreak is still worsening, fueled by armed conflict and frightened residents.

Dr Aceng also reiterated that there is no confirmed Ebola case in the country and an active case search continues in all communities, health facilities and at designated and informal border crossing in all districts.

A total of 2,100 doses of Merck's "rVSV-Ebola" vaccine candidate will be administered to the health workers to protect them against the type of Ebola virus strain that is now circulating in some parts of DRC.

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Besides militia attacks that have hindered health workers, the region's high population density and movements across the borders to Uganda and Rwanda pose additional risks that the highly lethal fever disease could spread in the region. The last outbreak, contained in July, sickened 53 people and killed 33.

More deaths have been recorded in the Ebola outbreak in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, claiming more than 180 lives. Dr Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam, the World Health Organization representative in Uganda, said the vaccine is safe with an efficacy level of 90 per cent and starts working within 10 days from the time it's administered.

Health workers are usually among the first to be infected in an Ebola outbreak. There are four experimental treatments being tried out in DRC: ZMapp, a cocktail of antibodies that fight the virus; a second cocktail of antibodies called REGN-EB3; a single-antibody drug called mAb114; and an antiviral drug called remdesivir.Supportive care, including replacing fluids and electrolytes lost to diarrhea and vomiting, can also help keep patients alive.This is the second outbreak of Ebola in Congo this year. Dozens more have died since then, according to a tally reported by Congo's health ministry.

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North Kivu's Ebola Outbreak at Day 90: What Is to Be Done?

For Congolese health workers, combating the virus has proved a challenge in a densely populated region that is roamed by armed groups.

Ebola was first reported in Congo in 1976 and is named for the river where it was recognized.

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