First batch of Ebola vaccines arrives in Congo to combat outbreak

First batch of Ebola vaccines arrives in Congo to combat outbreak

The Ebola virus is highly contagious and causes a range of symptoms including fever, vomiting, diarrhea, generalized pain or malaise and in many cases internal and external bleeding.

The first batch of experimental Ebola vaccines to combat an outbreak suspected to have killed 20 people arrived in Congo's capital Kinshasa on Wednesday, a Reuters witness who saw them being unloaded at the airport said.

The resolution of the upper legislative chamber was sequel to a motion sponsored by Oluremi Tinubu, senator representing Lagos central.

Mrs Tinubu flashed back to the 2014 situation where a carrier immigrant from Liberia transferred the disease to Nigeria.

"The Senate is saddened that in spite of quick measures taken, the epidemic claimed eight lives including those of medical personnel who put their lives at risk to contain the disease".

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Doctor Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, on a two-visit to DRC, said the suspected new case was in Bikoro, at the centre of the latest Ebola outbreak in the country's northwest, where 18 people have died so far. The Senate is further reminded that the DRC is 435 kilometres by air from Abuja and is easily accessible via a flight from Lagos that takes less than three hours.

The WHO has a stockpile of 4,300 doses of the vaccine in Geneva; the company also has 300,000 doses of the vaccine stockpiled in the United States.

"The Senate is anxious that unless we prepare our hospitals, properly equipped with the Ebola vaccine where necessary, this is an epidemic we might be unable to take up and will only cause untold hardship".

Bikoro Health Zone reported the highest number of cases (n=31), followed by Iboko (n=8) and Mbandaka (n=2) Health Zones. "Because of the possibility of such a crisis, we must urge an immediate intervention in this long-lasting industrial action so that we can have the workers, God forbid, to attend to whatever health problem may arise in our Republic".

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