Ebola kills 33 in Democratic Republic of Congo

The latest flare-up was announced one week after Congo’s government declared the end of another outbreak in northwestern Congo

Ebola kills 33 in Democratic Republic of Congo

GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo - Vaccinations against a new outbreak of Ebola virus in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo are due to begin on Wednesday, a senior official at the health ministry said on Sunday.

The acting director of Health Services Dr Henry Mwebesa on Monday issued a notice directing all district health officers in the country to be vigilant.

DR Congo's health ministry has said the new vaccination campaign will target health care providers, contacts of confirmed Ebola cases and their contacts, the same strategy that was used to contain the previous outbreak in Equateur province in which more than 3,300 people were vaccinated.

He said so far, 26 case with haemorrhagic fever signs, including twenty deaths in the area of North Kivu have been reported.

That outbreak was about 2,500 km (1,553 miles) from the current outbreak.

That outbreak, which began in May, claimed 33 lives according to the World Health Organization (WHO), before being declared over last month.

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A so-called cold chain, the series of measures needed to keep the vaccine well below zero in a tropical climate without reliable power supplies, will be set up in Beni this weekend, the statement said.

Among the ill were three healthcare workers, two of whom died.

The agency said there were 43 cases of the disease, 13 confirmed and 30 probable, in North Kivu province.

World Health Organization has said 3,000 doses of the vaccine are still in DR Congo's capital, Kinshasa, and that it can access up to 300,000 more on short notice.

Four new deaths from people who tested positive for the disease were recorded in the Beni region in North Kivu province, a region with deep security problems which shares borders with Uganda and Rwanda.

Health experts have identified at least 966 contacts who are now under surveillance.

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