Nineteen people have died of Ebola in Congo as health officials plan to send an experimental vaccine to prevent the spread of the virus that killed thousands in West Africa a few years ago.
The World Health Organization said there have been 39 confirmed and suspected cases of Ebola over the past five weeks as the virus spreads across three rural areas covering nearly 40 miles in the northwest part of the country. Among the dead were three health-care workers. Health officials are following up with nearly 400 people identified as contacts of Ebola patients.
The global health agency announced last week its plans to send the vaccine, developed in 2016 by the pharmaceutical company Merck. Health officials hope that the vaccine, which was given to people in Guinea in West Africa during a trial in 2015, could be a game-changer in preventing Ebola from spreading, The Washington Post’s Siobhán O’Grady wrote last week. Among the 5,837 people who received the vaccine, called rVSV-ZEBOV, no one came down with Ebola 10 days after vaccination.