World Health Organisation (WHO) officials have started vaccinating people in the Democratic Republic of Congo following the latest Ebola outbreak.
WHO experts arrived in the country this week for the vaccination exercise. The global body hopes this can help contain the spread of the disease.
The latest outbreak was recorded in northeastern part of the country close to the borders with Uganda and Rwanda.
The country’s health ministry said on Saturday that 13 new cases have been confirmed. These suspected cases had been detected in both North Kivu and neighboring Ituri province.
At least 33 people have been killed by the latest outbreak. DR Congo officials say the 879 people who came into contact with Ebola patients have been identified.
Total of 43 cases (16 confirmed & 27 probable), including 36 deaths. In addition, 46 suspect cases are under investigation. https://t.co/KbgHzbI60e
— Peter Salama (@PeteSalama) August 7, 2018
Source of latest outbreak
The WHO says the latest Ebola outbreak in eastern Congo has been traced to a 65-year old woman.
The woman died of the disease in Mangina Hospital – about 30km (17 miles) from the city of Beni.
The latest outbreak is coming days after the country declared that the previous outbreak was over.
The challenge for health officials is that they are unable to confirm the particular strain of Ebola causing the outbreak.
North Kivu province and eastern areas of Ituri are among the most populated in #DRC, with many major cities. This brings heightened risks and new challenges in the fight against #Ebola. All the more reason to fight with all tools, old and new. pic.twitter.com/gNBHD0nOAa
— Peter Salama (@PeteSalama) August 8, 2018
WHO officials have said that it may be impossible to use a vaccine to tackle the latest outbreak.
But DRC health officials are now deploying a vaccine manufactured by Merck just like they did with the previous outbreak in Western Congo.
Ebola leads to internal and external bleeding which can cause damage done to blood vessels.
The virus which is transmitted by bats was first discovered in DRC in 1976 and named after the Ebola river.