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Latest Ebola outbreak is Zaire strain, vaccinations to start: WHO

(FILES) In this file photo taken on May 20, 2018 an attendant charged to handle the access to the Ebola security zone disinfects shoes outside the Wangata Reference Hospital in Mbandaka, northwestern Democratic Repubic of Congo. The Democratic Republic of Congo on August 1, 2018 reported an outbreak of Ebola in the east of the vast country, barely a week after it had declared the end to an outbreak in the northwest. "At this point, there is no indication that these two epidemics, which are more than 2,500 kilometres (1,500 miles) apart, are connected," Health Minister Oly Ilunga Kalenga said in a statement. / AFP PHOTO / JUNIOR KANNAH

The Ebola outbreak in Congo is confirmed to be the Zaire strain of the virus and vaccinations of health workers may start as early as Wednesday, a senior official of the World Health Organization (WHO) said.

Peter Salama, WHO deputy director for emergency preparedness and response, gave the results of genetic sequencing in a tweet saying that analysis showed it was a new outbreak in North Kivu province.

“We can start using rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine as early as tomorrow.”

The experimental vaccine, which is manufactured by Merck, proved successful during its first wide-scale usage against an outbreak of Zaire virus on the other side of Congo in the northwest that was declared over less than two weeks ago after killing 33.

The experimental vaccine, which is manufactured by Merck, proved successful during its first wide-scale usage against the outbreak in the northwest.

More than 3,000 doses remain in stock in the capital Kinshasa, allowing authorities to quickly deploy it to the affected areas near the Ugandan border.

The vaccine normally needs to be kept at 80 degrees Celsius below freezing (minus 112 Fahrenheit),
although it can be stored for a couple of weeks at just above freezing.