FILE PHOTO: A health worker sprays a colleague with disinfectant during a training session for Congolese health workers to deal with Ebola virus in Kinshasa October 21, 2014. REUTERS/Media Coulibaly
The World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed on Sunday a second case of Ebola in Democratic Republic of Congo after an outbreak this week of 17 other suspected cases.
Health officials are trying to trace 125 people thought to be linked to the cases identified in the remote northeastern province of Bas-Uele province in northeastern Congo near the border with Central African Republic, WHO’s Congo spokesman Eugene Kabambi said.
Three people have so far died among the 19 suspected and confirmed cases, he added.
It was not immediately clear how the first victim, a deceased male, caught the virus, although past outbreaks have been linked to contact with infected bush meat such as apes.
The outbreak comes just a year after the end of an epidemic in West Africa killed more than 11,300 people mostly in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
However, Congo, whose dense forests contain the River Ebola near where the disease was first detected in 1976, has experienced many outbreaks and has mostly succeeded in containing them without large-scale loss of life.
The GAVI global vaccine alliance said on Friday some 300,000 emergency doses of an Ebola vaccine developed by Merck (MRK.N) could be available in case of a large-scale outbreak and that it stood ready to support the Congo government on the matter. — By Aaron Ross | KINSHASA
(Reporting by Aaron Ross; Writing by Emma Farge; Editing by Louise Ireland and Gareth Jones)
The Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday maintained that Dengavaxia is not the answer to the problem of the high incidence of dengue in the country.
DOH spokesperson and Officer in Charge of the Food and Drug Administration, Usec. Eric Domingo explained that dengue is not like any other disease where vaccination is the only solution.
He stressed that Dengvaxia is still not a registered drug in the country and its efficacy is not yet fully proven.
“This vaccine is not for an outbreak response. It’s designed for future use sa mga taong nagka- dengue na dati [for people who have had dengue before],” Domingo said.
A World Health Organization (WHO) report showed that “Dengvaxia was first licensed in Mexico in December 2015 for use in individuals 9-45 years of age living in endemic areas, and is now licensed in 20 countries.”
It was then used in 11 countries in 2016, including the Philippines.
But it was only in September 2018 that the WHO recommended that Dengvaxia be only administered to children who were previously infected with dengue, adding that it is dangerous for those who have not yet gotten the disease.
This caused among the public, as well as, experts as the Philippines is the only country who had used Dengvaxia vaccination on a wider scope, with more than 800,000 children inoculated.
The DOH maintained that there is still no concrete study to date that claimed that children who are vaccinated with Dengvaxia will never be infected with dengue.
“It’s very difficult because you’re tested and then you’re positive but you’re actually false positive. Then if you give the Dengvaxia, who knows that the severe dengue reaction will not occur in a particular individual. So, there’s a risk, in other words,” DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III said. (with details from Aiko Miguel) /mbmf
The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned against falsified rabies and anti-rabies vaccines circulating in the Philippines.
Based on their 2019 medical product alert, the WHO identifies three falsified rabies vaccines as Verorab, Speeda, and Rabipur. They also identified one anti-rabies called Equirab.
“Investigations are ongoing, and laboratory analyses are being facilitated for available samples to determine their contents and better assess the risk to public health.” according to the medical product alert.
WHO warns supply chains in the country, including hospitals, clinics, health centres, wholesalers, distributors, pharmacies to remain vigilant for falsified products.
“All medical products must be obtained from authentic and reliable sources. Their authenticity and condition should be carefully checked. Seek advice from a healthcare professional in case of doubt,” WHO said.—AAC
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