Ebola deaths in Congo exceed 1,500

Doctors using new tools to fight ebola outbreak

Doctors using new tools to fight ebola outbreak

Importantly, the study also shows that the lab test most often used in DRC and neighboring countries to diagnose Ebola - which was developed during the 2014-2016 West Africa outbreak for use against a different strain of Ebola virus - appears to be accurate for the outbreak strain now circulating in DRC, which researchers are calling the Ituri strain. "We have a small window to prevent a potentially massive loss of life".

Just a week after the DRC declared the Ebola outbreak in August, health-care workers were granted approval to use an unlicensed vaccine made by New Jersey-based Merck on a "compassionate basis", which allows the use of an unapproved drug when no other options are available.

Tackling the measles outbreak is complicated by the fact that its symptoms - fever, redness around the eyes, diarrhoea - are similar to those displayed by Ebola patients.

Up to 400,000 people are thought to be internally displaced across Ituri, the vast majority of them women and children.

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Many of those living in them are far away from treatment centres, the United Nations agency added in a statement, which noted that armed groups have destroyed up to half the health facilities in territory that is "virtually inaccessible" owing to insecurity. "Whether it is from measles, Ebola, or the reality of living in a displacement camp, children are at grave risk".

Said one World Health Organization official, "One of the biggest saviors for us in this response, in my view, has been our ability to use vaccine very tactically in vaccinating around cases, contacts, contacts of contacts and we believe that has reduced transmission significantly".

Measles campaigns are also being planned for Tchomia and Nyankunde health zones.

Uganda says there have been no further cases of Ebola on its territory resulting from the deaths of two Ugandans who had travelled to DR Congo, the Congolese authorities said on Wednesday. Nearly 30 per cent of cases are among children.

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