This means fully informed, signed consent is needed from every person who wants the shot. This new case is linked with the epicentre of the epidemic, the east of Lake Tumba. There were no cases in the Congo during that outbreak.
The shot is designed for use in a so-called "ring vaccination". "So far, all of them have occurred in remote and isolated areas, as was the case past year in Likati, when the epidemic didn't spread." explains Henry Gray, MSF Emergency Coordinator in Mbandaka.
Ebola, a hemorrhagic disease which is endemic to tropical regions of sub-Saharan Africa, was identified in the 1970s, but historically claimed a relatively small number of lives, despite its mortality rates reaching as high as 50 percent, as its spread between isolated villages and towns was limited. Another lethal case in Wangata on Thursday was a suspected one, Xinhua news agency reported.
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The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said the first suspected victim was a police officer who died in a health center in the village of Ikoki-Impenge, near Bikoro.
With the poor infrastructure and electricity supply in Congo, the only challenge that remains with the vaccine is that it has to store it in a cold temperature. Moreover, WHO said that no restrictions have issued on worldwide travel. "There's a lot of complex logistics and social science here".
The 2014-16 West Africa outbreak became particularly deadly when it spread to the capitals of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Until Thursday, the more than 40 suspected or confirmed cases were all located in the area around Bikoro, close to the Congo River, and around 150 kilometres (about 95 miles) from the provincial capital Mbandaka, which is a busy port city. Then the shot could be given to local frontline medical, burial and hospital workers who volunteer for it as early as next week.
The disease has spread from a rural area of the country's Equateur Province where it was first reported last week to the city of Mbandaka, which has a population of more than 1,000,000 and is on the banks of the Congo River which connects several countries.
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Experts also caution that acting too hastily could jeopardise the potential success of a vaccine deployment.
Apart from World Health Organization and other United Nations agencies, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), as other humanitarian organisations, have teams on the ground, working to contain the outbreak.
Even though the vaccine has still yet to get a licence, the emergency response teams say its safety and efficacy data is strong. They would be sending in experts to remote locations as well.
"The vaccine will help us save lives in the Equateur province, in the DRC and in neighbouring countries".
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