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Ebola virus now squeezed into 'corner' of DR Congo - WHO

Ebola virus now squeezed into 'corner' of DR Congo - WHO

World Health Organization (WHO) has said efforts to halt an Ebola epidemic in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have made significant progress, with the virus now contained to a far smaller and mainly rural area, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said.


Michael Ryan, the executive director of WHO's Health Emergencies Programme, told reporters in the Swiss city of Geneva on Thursday.

DRC's latest Ebola epidemic, which began in August 2018, has killed 2,144 people, making it the second-deadliest outbreak of the virus, after the West Africa pandemic of 2014-2016.

At the height of the latest outbreak, 207 "health zones" were affected by Ebola, a figure that now stands at only 27, Ryan said. But he stressed that despite a "much lower level of transmission", the danger was not over.

Ebola fighters have been hindered by frequent attacks by rebel groups in eastern DRC, as well as by resistance in communities to some of the methods used to rein in the virus.

More than 236,000 people living in active Ebola transmission zones have received an as-yet unlicensed vaccination produced by United States-based pharmaceutical giant Merck.

And the DRC is preparing to begin introducing a second experimental Ebola vaccine, produced by another US-based firm, Johnson & Johnson (J&J), to protect those living outside of direct transmission zones.

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