New strain of Ebola behind DR Congo outbreak

Published: Thursday, 28 April 2022 08:39

The World Health Organization has reported that an Ebola vaccination campaign has begun in northwest Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), to halt the spread of a new Ebola outbreak.

According to the WHO inoculations have been carried out in Mbandaka, the capital city of Equateur Province west, following the deaths of two people from Ebola since 21 April. 

“With effective vaccines at hand and the experience of DRC health workers in Ebola response, we can quickly change the course of this outbreak for the better,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the UN agency’s Regional Director for Africa. “We are supporting the country in all the key aspects of Ebola emergency response to protect and save lives.”

The National Institute for Biomedical Research has completed an analysis of a sample from the first confirmed case, results of which show that the new outbreak indicates a new strain of Ebola: the result of a ‘spill-over event from the host or animal reservoir’, according to the WHO.

Although there is no cause for wider concern, organizations may want to monitor the development of the outbreak due to the lack of information at this stage concerning the virulence of this new Ebola strain and the efficacy of vaccinations against it.