guia do novo coronavirus
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Public Health

Africa hit by new Ebola outbreak

WHO Health agents from the WHO provide Ebola vaccinations in the Democratic Republic of CongoWHO

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, health professionals and others at high risk of being infected with the Ebola virus, which can cause a hemorrhagic fever with a 90% fatality rate, started receiving doses of an experimental vaccine at the end of May. Immunization began in the city of Mbandaka, the capital of the Central African country’s northwestern province of Équateur. Mbandaka has about 1.2 million inhabitants and lies on the Congo river. In May, the city confirmed its first cases of Ebola, which have spread from an outbreak in nearby rural areas. This is the ninth Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo since the virus was discovered in 1976. Équateur province has identified 44 cases of hemorrhagic fever in three regions between April 4 and May 15 this year, with 23 deaths—Ebola infection has been confirmed in some of the cases, while others remain under investigation. Some 530 people who had contact with the patients are now being monitored by the health authorities. In an effort to contain the spread of the virus, the country’s Ministry of Health, in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other international bodies, has started vaccinating small groups of doctors, nurses, and people who have had contact with patients. By May 21, pharmaceutical company Merck had provided the WHO with 8,600 doses of the rVSV-Zebov vaccine, which proved effective in previous outbreaks in Guinea and Sierra Leone. A further 8,000 doses have been promised. Transmitted via bodily fluids, Ebola causes fever, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle aches, and hemorrhaging.