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Latest Congo Ebola outbreak is Zaire strain, vaccinations to start

08 August 2018

An outbreak of the Ebola virus declared this week in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo is believed to have killed 33 people, the health ministry said.

A World Health Organization (WHO) worker prepares to administer a vaccination during the launch of a campaign aimed at beating an outbreak of Ebola in the port city of Mbandaka, Democratic Republic of Congo May 21, 2018.

He cited new results of genetic analysis that confirm the strain of Ebola in the new outbreak is the Zaire strain, one for which the vaccine can be used.

In the latest outbreak, declared last week, 43 people are believed to have been infected in North Kivu province, including 33 who have died, the United Nations health agency said.

"In total, 43 cases of haemorrhagic fever have been reported in the region, including 16 confirmed and 27 probable, and 31 suspected cases are under investigation", the ministry said.

That outbreak more than 2,500 kilometres away had 33 confirmed Ebola deaths.

Health workers are in the process of setting up 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, the ministry said.

There were three new cases confirmed and four new deaths, as of Monday, it said.

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.

North Kivu province is home to more than 1 million people displaced people amid fighting between the government and militant groups.

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

Latest Congo Ebola outbreak is Zaire strain, vaccinations to start