Two Ebola patients escape treatment centre and die: MSF

Congo Ebola vaccination campaign rolled out

Ebola outbreak 2018: Two infected patients flee treatment center in Congo

The WHO has yet to declare the outbreak an emergency after hearing from officials in the DRC.

Two Democratic Republic of Congo Ebola patients who fled hospital in the city of Mbandaka on Monday attended a prayer meeting with 50 people hours before they died, Jean-Clement Cabrol, an emergency medical coordinator at Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), said on Thursday. The disease spreads by contacting bodily fluids of infected people, including the dead.

The vaccine takes seven to 10 days to generate a strong enough immune response to ensure a person is fully protected. "The priority of the government is to ensure that all these fearless health professionals can do their job safely". Yesterday the DRC health ministry said there are 52 cases, 31 confirmed, 13 probable, and 8 suspected.

Doctors are especially anxious because, with a population of over 1 million people, Mbandaka is extremely susceptible to a fast-moving Ebola outbreak. Two of the Ebola victims were nurses, one in Iboko and the other in Bikoro.

The trial would test the effectiveness of a treatment called mAb114 against the highly contagious virus, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), said in a telephone interview.

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"Our hope is that. the sick will heal, the whole province will be healed", Elange said.

Earlier this week, officials with the World Health Organization (WHO) said that 28 people had died as a result of the disease.

Ebola is initially transmitted to people from wild animals, including bats and monkeys.

The vaccination campaign eventually will move to cover the two other health zones where confirmed cases have been reported.

Limited trials of the experimental vaccine was rolled out during the epidemic in West Africa in 2014-16, which killed more than 11,300 people.

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A major challenge will be keeping the vaccines cold in this vast, impoverished, tropical country where infrastructure is poor. Those vaccinated are instructed to follow the same strict infection control and hygiene practices as anyone who is not vaccinated.

The agency issued a new toll, saying there had been 58 cases since the outbreak was declared on May 8 - an increase of seven over figures issued on Tuesday - and said it was actively following more than 600 contacts.

Health workers have drawn up a list of 628 people who have had contact with known cases who will need to be vaccinated. "Before making any assumption we're going to have to look along this road and all the villages".

The WHO said health workers were following up on three separate transmission chains for cases in Mbandaka's Wangata neighbourhood - one linked to a funeral, one to a church and another to a rural health facility. It said it will expand operations for community-based surveillance and safe burials. "Secondly, that town is on the Congo River and its tributaries, which ultimately connects this outbreak potentially to Kinshasa and also to surrounding countries such as the Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic".

The incident happened in the latest Ebola breeding ground in the city of Mbandaka in the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to officials with Doctors Without Borders.

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Though the outbreak in the DRC is unpredictable, if it expands and crosses borders, responders will probably need more worldwide assistance, which might come with a request for the United States to ramp up its engagement, the report concluded.

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