Atlanta, Georgia. Nobody at the CDC is getting too worked up yet, about the Ebola virus outbreak being reported in the Congo. The employees quietly do not believe the Trump Administration will import infected individuals for treatmemt as Barack Obama did during his presidency.
This epidemic, which is currently small, is near the northern border with the Central African Republic. To date there have been nine suspected cases. Three have died and the six other people have been hospitalized.
Confirmation testing of five samples was conducted at the country’s National Biomedical Research Institute in Kinshasa, with one coming back positive for Ebola, specifically the Zaire species of the virus. That is the same strain that was responsible for the massive West African outbreak in 2014-2015.
The country has fought seven outbreaks before the current one; the most recent was between August and November of 2014, and involved 66 cases.The largest known outbreak of Ebola was the 2014-2015 West African epidemic. More than 28,600 people were infected and more than 11,300 died.
“The fact that this is a country that has experience dealing with Ebola should give us hope that we won’t see a pandemic on the scale of the 2014 outbreak that hit West Africa,” Dr. Seth Berkley said.
A vaccine, designed by scientists at Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory, is being developed by the pharmaceutical giant Merck. Work is still underway to get the vaccine licensed.
“A NGOs work with Merck means there are 300,000 doses of Ebola vaccine available if needed to stop this outbreak becoming a pandemic,” Berkley said. “The vaccine has shown high efficacy in clinical trials and could play a vital role in protecting the most vulnerable.”
However, the World Health Organization said it’s not yet clear if vaccine will be needed to control the outbreak, or whether Congo wants to use it.
A spokesperson for the Geneva-based global health agency, said the WHO and its partners are conducting an epidemiological investigation to assess the scope of the outbreak and how many people are potentially at risk. If a decision to vaccinate is made, a ring vaccination strategy will be used, officials said.
This strategic vaccination approach, used in the trial that proved the effectiveness of the vaccine, involves vaccinating the people who had contact with a confirmed case. Creating rings of protected people around each case limits the chances the virus can continue to spread.