Health officials present in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have begun to give the experimental vaccine to the people who are present in the rural region at the epicentre of the outbreak. Till now the Ebola outbreak has infected about 54 people and have killed almost half of them.
The epidemiologists who work in the remote areas or forests have not identified any case of Ebola or in the villagers who have been exposed to this outbreak. Investigators for this outbreak need to overcome the logistical hurdles to construct the way in which the virus was transmitted and then vaccinate the contacts to halt the spread.
According to Dr Henry Gray, who is the emergency coordinator for Doctors without Borders said that to control this epidemic you need to clear epidemiological picture and if you have no knowledge about the stories of the people who are involved and about their families and their jobs then you can’t control the epidemic.
During the last week, about 500 people have received the experimental vaccine which is known as VSV-EBOV in Mbandaka, which a riverfront city with a population of more than 1.5 million people and till now 4 cases of Ebola has been confirmed. Mbandaka is a priority as it is the main traffic hub. All the aid workers use the ring method in which the vaccine is given to groups of people who came in contact with the Ebola case like family caretakers, contacts of those contacts.
As per Dr Peter Salama, who is the deputy director-general for emergency response at the World Health Organisation said till now about 7,500 doses are available to vaccinate 50 rings of about 150 people each. Also, 8,000 doses more will be following.
The WHO is now monitoring more than 900 contacts which are spread across the Equateur province and the vaccination program now expanded to Bikoro and Iboko communities in which most cases have been reported, and teams are relying on the contacts which help to trace the urgent, needy recipients.
If the outbreak doesn’t get reduced and it becomes worse, then a second vaccination was planned, and Johnson and Johnson developed it. This vaccine needs two doses, and it would take longer time than VSV-EBOV to become effective, but it will protect health workers for several years.