World Health Organization calls for emergency meeting to discuss global risks of outbreak

World Health Organization calls for emergency meeting to discuss global risks of outbreak

These would be given as a priority to people in Mbandaka who had been in contact with those suspected of carrying the Ebola virus before people in any other affected area, Mr Salama said.

Salama said that isolation and rudimentary management facilities had been set up in Mbandaka.

World Health Organization has also confirmed that the current outbreak is the same strain of the virus that broke out in West Africa in 2013 and went on to kill more than 11,300 people, the deadliest ever Ebola epidemic.

Situated along the Congo River, Mbandaka is a densely populated transit hub at the crossroads of Equateur province, the health ministry said, raising fears that the Ebola virus will be easily passed on. "We have urban Ebola, which is a very different animal from rural Ebola".

The deployment of this experimental vaccine will prove a major test for not only the efficacy of the vaccine but for global health strategies created to respond to major viral outbreaks such as this.

A panel will decide on Friday whether to declare a "public health emergency of global concern", which would trigger a larger response. The case in Mbandaka is only the third confirmed case of the current outbreak; 20 others are probable, and 21 are suspected, bringing the total of potential cases to 44. The ministry said no new health professionals had been contaminated.

A new suspected case of Ebola was recorded this week in Wangata, one of the three health zones of Mbandaka, the capital of the northwestern Equateur province.

Ebola, a hemorrhagic disease which is endemic to tropical regions of sub-Saharan Africa, was identified in the 1970s, but historically claimed a relatively small number of lives, despite its mortality rates reaching as high as 50 percent, as its spread between isolated villages and towns was limited. This is the ninth Ebola outbreak in Congo since the 1970s, and the first since May of a year ago, when five confirmed cases resulted in four deaths.

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He added: "The control efforts are just now getting started, with equipment and expert personnel arriving to both identify and care for patients as well as to initiate the public health activities to curtail transmission and to stop the spread of the virus".

In Mbandaka and Bikoro, 514 people who may have been in contact with infected people have been notified by national health authorities and are being monitored, according to MSF.

The city of nearly 1.2 million is on the Congo River, a busy travel corridor in the vast country and upstream from the capital, Kinshasa, a city of about 10 million.

They work backwards from each infected person, figuring out everyone they might have come in contact with and monitoring those individuals for any sign at all of infection.

"This vaccine is no longer experimental".

How "experimental" is this Ebola vaccine?

The 2014-16 West Africa outbreak became particularly deadly when it spread to the capitals of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Symptoms include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain and at times internal and external bleeding.

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