Congo’s health ministry has approved the use of an unlicensed Merck Ebola vaccine as an outbreak in the country’s northeast peeters out, a spokesman said on Monday.
As of Friday, Congo had registered 52 total suspected cases, including two that have been confirmed, the World Health Organization (WHO) spokesman in Congo, Eugene Kabambi, said by telephone, adding that the situation appeared to be under control.
WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said in Geneva that vaccination would be deployed “should an EVD (Ebola virus disease) laboratory confirmed case be identified outside already defined chains of transmission”.
In that case, it would be offered “to contacts and contacts of contacts of a confirmed EVD case, including health care workers and field laboratory Workers”, Jasarevic said.
A vaccination campaign would present logistical challenges in Congo’s isolated northeastern forests, including transporting and storing the vaccine in special containers at the required minus 80 degrees Celsius.