Latest Congo Ebola outbreak is Zaire strain, vaccinations to start

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The BMJ has reported that Ebola has reappeared in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) just a week after an outbreak in the western part of the country was declared over.

Barthe Ndjoloko Tambwe, director of the Ebola response in Beni, said Monday the vaccination campaign will target health care providers, contacts of confirmed Ebola cases and their contacts.

Health workers in Congo have been setting up refrigerators to chill an Ebola vaccine required to handle an outbreak suspected to have infected 43 people.

A fresh Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo is feared to have killed at least 33 people.

But workers were still able to travel hundreds of miles by motorbike to trace people who had come into contact with the virus, a vital part of its containment.

The World Health Organization has said it hopes to know as early as Tuesday whether the Ebola strain in this new outbreak is the one for which the vaccine can be used.

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

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The current outbreak is in the North Kivu region, on the opposite side of DRC from the last outbreak.

Forty-six other suspected cases are being investigated, including 25 in Beni, a trading hub of several hundred thousand people, the ministry said in a statement.

Three healthcare workers have been struck down by Ebola, of whom one has died. Using hi tech protective gear and technology, life-threatening pathogens like the Ebola virus can be safely diagnosed and researched at centers like these.

More than 3,000 doses remain in stock in the capital Kinshasa, allowing authorities to deploy them quickly to affected areas.

North Kivu borders Rwanda and Uganda and trade activity fuels heavy movement across the borders.

North Kivu province now hosts more than 1 million displaced people and sees major cross-border movement due to trade with Rwanda and Uganda.