Medical workers in Democratic Republic of Congo have given all the immediate contacts of Ebola patients in the city of Mbandaka an experimental vaccine as they try to thwart a disease that has killed around 25 people, the health ministry said.
Ebola spreads easily through bodily fluids and the medical strategy involves vaccinating all the people a patient may have infected and then vaccinating a second “ring” of contacts around each of those potential sufferers.
That would include family members but also people who may have come into contact with a sufferer in church or on public transport, each a potential Ebola time-bomb who must be found and vaccinated by virus-hunting experts.
The race against new Ebola cases
The VSV-EBOV vaccine, developed by Merck, has been administered to 1,112 people, including 567 in the northwestern city. That covers all known contacts of confirmed Ebola cases in the city as well as those people’s contacts, the ministry said in a statement late on Sunday.
The vaccine was first rolled out in Mbandaka on May 21 and hailed as a paradigm shift in the fight against Ebola by the World Health Organization (WHO).
WHO to deploy 4,000 vaccines in DR Congo Ebola response