Ebola-Related Deaths Reach 1,045 in Africa
111,920 persons in the DRC have been vaccinated with Merck’s v920 (rVSV-ZEBOV) vaccine candidate
The incidence of Ebola Zaire disease cases in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) reached an unfortunate milestone.
On May 6, 2019, the DRC provinces of North Kivu and Ituri confirmed 1,045 deaths since the Ebola outbreak began in August 2018, reported the Ministry of Health of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The overall case fatality rate of the DRC’s Ebola epidemic is 65.9 percent.
"We anticipate a scenario of continued, intense transmission," said Michael J. Ryan, MD, a Senior Advisor to the World Health Organization (WHO).
But, there is some good news regarding an experimental preventive vaccine.
Since the beginning of the DRC vaccination program on August 8, 2018, 111,920 persons have been vaccinated with Merck’s v920 (rVSV-ZEBOV) vaccine candidate.
Moreover, a recent analysis estimated v920’s Vaccine Efficacy at 97.5 percent.
Ebolaviruses are pathogenic agents associated with a severe, potentially fatal, systemic disease in man and great apes. Three species of ebolaviruses have been identified in Africa.
These pathogens are primarily transmitted by human-to-human contact with infected body fluids and corpses and cause severe and acute systemic disease with high mortality, says the WHO.
To alert international travelers, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expanded its Level 2 Travel Alert regarding the Ebola Zaire outbreak in the DRC.
This expanded Travel Alert, Practice Enhanced Precautions, published on March 6, 2019, says travelers leaving the Ebola outbreak area may be subject to travel restrictions.
Additionally, any person with possible exposure or Ebola-like symptoms will not be allowed to travel, unless the travel is part of a coordinated medical evacuation.
And, the US State Department updated its Level 3 Travel Advisory on April 9, 2019, said 'Do not travel to the eastern DRC and the Kasai provinces.’
Before visiting a doctor’s office upon your return to the USA, call ahead and tell the doctor about your recent travel to the DRC and any symptoms you may have.
To schedule a pre-trip travel vaccination counseling session with a local pharmacy or doctor, please visit Vax-Before-Travel.