Health authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo yesterday (Monday) said that they would begin Ebola vaccinations on Wednesday in the east of the country, where a new outbreak of the virus is believed to have killed 33 people.
Congo's health ministry says there are 13 confirmed Ebola cases, including 3 deaths, in the current outbreak.
It said Ebola Virus Disease rapid diagnostic tests have been provided to the Uganda Virus Research Institute in Entebbe.
"The objective of this communication is, therefore, to request you to enhance your surveillance systems and preparedness and have a high index of suspicion for Ebola, urgently report any alerts to Public Health Emergency Operation Centre", Dr Mwebesa wrote.
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In this way, immunization will begin tomorrow and is aimed at front-line medical personnel, people who have had contact with confirmed Ebola cases and their contacts.
But the new outbreak in the East of the DRC is on track to dwarf the one that sparked global panic in earlier this summer in the North West.
There are now 16 confirmed cases of the hemorrhagic fever, 27 probable cases and 31 suspected ones under investigation.
"Since we are coming out of another Ebola outbreak, we have kept staff and equipment in place", Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO's regional director for Africa, said. Individuals frequently cross the border for trade, which, combined with humanitarian and security issues in the region, could make the outbreak harder to contain. The major barrier will be safely accessing the affected population'.
North Kivu, which borders Uganda and Rwanda, is a resource-rich province in which more than 100 armed groups operate, according to Human Rights Watch. The government has 3,220 doses and the World Health Organization (WHO) promised 300,000 more.