Ebola Vaccinations of Health Workers Begin in Congo, MSF Says

(Bloomberg) -- Medecins Sans Frontieres began vaccinating health workers in a remote town in northern Democratic Republic of Congo where an outbreak of Ebola was confirmed earlier this month.

The treatment campaign started in Bikoro in Equateur Province, a week after a similar exercise in the city of Mbandaka, the medical charity said in an emailed statement Tuesday. Vaccinations, which are being conducted with MSF’s research unit Epicentre, will be offered to people who have come into contact with Ebola patients, it said.

The number of reported Ebola cases in the Democratic Republic of Congo reached 56 by May 26, with 25 deaths, according to the World Health Organization. There were 35 confirmed cases of the deadly virus, 13 probable infections and another eight suspected cases, it said.

MSF is administering a trial vaccine that has yet to be licensed and is being implemented through a study protocol that has been accepted by national authorities, the Ethical Review Board in Congo and MSF’s Ethical Review Board.

“Participation in this vaccine trial is voluntary and free,” MSF’s medical director in Geneva said. “Participants receive information on the vaccine before consenting, and those who choose to be vaccinated are carefully monitored over a period of time.”

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