After 22 months of fighting the Ebola epidemic that began in August 2018 in the province of North Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo, it finally was declared over at the end of June. The outbreak was contained thanks to the first vaccination campaign against the virus.
On 25 June, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the end of the tenth outbreak of the Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) after 42 consecutive days without new cases. The outbreak, which began almost two years ago in August 2018 in the province of North Kivu, affected 3,470 people, causing 2,287 deaths (a 66% mortality rate) and 1,171 survivors.
For the first time, the Congolese Government, supported by the WHO, has carried out a massive vaccination campaign and monitoring of patients in recovery. This has made it possible to limit the number of cases.
Over 300,000 people vaccinated with rVSV-ZEBOV-GP
During the 22 months of the epidemic, health workers registered 250,000 contact cases and tested a large proportion of them preventively (230,000 people tested). These efforts to prevent the spread of the epidemic were complemented by a comprehensive vaccination campaign: 303,000 people received an injection of the rVSV-ZEBOV-GP vaccine.
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Behind this complicated name lies a recombinant vaccine developed by Canadian researchers and marketed by Merck. Each vaccine dose contains the vesicular stomatitis virus, a rhabdovirus modified to express the surface glycoprotein of the Ebola virus. One dose is sufficient to induce a sufficiently strong and long-lasting immunity against Ebola. A clinical study conducted in 2015 showed that the vaccination efficacy of rVSV-ZEBOV-GP is between 70 and 100%. The latter is effective against the Zaire virus strain that is the cause of this outbreak.
“The Democratic Republic of Congo is now smarter and quicker to respond to Ebola, and this is a lasting legacy that will serve as a basis for the response to Coronavirus Latest Facts: What Is It And What Are Its Symptoms? and other epidemics,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, in a press release.