During his visit to Kinshasa last Saturday, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization, met with the President of the DRC, Jospeh Kabila who officially authorized the use of this vaccine against the Ebola virus in his country.
Before the latest confirmed case, Peter Salama, the WHO's deputy director-general for emergency preparedness and response, said the current number of suspected, probable or confirmed cases stood at 42, with 23 deaths attributed to the outbreak.
Ilunga, who disclosed that the introduction of Vaccination by the government was an option open to curtail the epidemic, added that all people with confirmed or suspected EVD would be moved to the Ebola treatment centres as soon as the facilities were ready.
The Chief Whip, Senator Sola Adeyeye, however, pointed out that the disease, if spread to Nigeria, might have a devastating effect as workers in the country's public health institutions were on strike.
The Senate's resolution was sequel to a motion on "Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Need to Take Precautionary Measures" by Sen. "The remaining 12 cases are suspected..."
The experimental vaccine has been shown to be highly effective against Ebola. Congo's government authorized the use of the vaccine last week.
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"If it also protects against the strain of the virus that now is active in the Congo, it could play a major role in ending the outbreak". It was tested in West - Africa in 2015 during an Ebola epidemic that killed more than 11,300 people in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
"It can't cure Ebola, but what it can do is stop the spread of the disease", she said.
The region of the outbreak is a cause for concern given its proximity to the Congo River and a national border, where masses of people trade and migrate.
As of 13 May, there is a cumulative total of 41 cases, including 20 deaths (case fatality rate = 48.8%) and three healthcare workers from Bikoro (n=2) and Iboko (n=1).
The outbreak is centered around the remote town of Bikoro in the province of Equateur, while samples have been taken from two suspected cases in Mbandaka, the provincial capital that's home to about 1 million residents.