DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — The second-largest Ebola outbreak in history has spread to a major city in eastern Congo, as health experts worry whether the stock of an experimental vaccine will stand up to the demands of an epidemic with no end in sight.
Butembo, with more than 1 million residents, is now reporting cases of the deadly hemorrhagic fever. That complicates Ebola containment work already challenged by rebel attacks elsewhere that have made tracking the virus almost impossible in some isolated villages…
The outbreak declared on Aug. 1 is now second only to the devastating West Africa outbreak that killed more than 11,300 people a few years ago. There are currently 471 Ebola cases, of which 423 are confirmed, including 225 confirmed deaths, Congo’s health ministry said late Thursday.
Without the teams that have vaccinated more than 41,000 people so far, this outbreak could have already seen more than 10,000 Ebola cases, the health ministry said .
All the outbreaks before were contained in small villages and in remote areas. Even so, the last one killed over eleven thousand people during a very unusually long outbreak. And the number of death tells us it has a 50% mortality on those affected which is, believe it or not, better numbers that history records. Still, the possibility that Ebola hitting a major city and wiping out half the inhabitants is not a nice consideration. Now comes the question: How is it being spread? Let us pray it has not done the jump to airborne.
About the only good bit of information is that a vaccine has been developed by Evil Pharma but unfortunately they say they do not have enough to make a dent. IRRC to achieve herd immunity, you need at least half the population vaccinated.
This is by far the largest deployment of the promising but still experimental Ebola vaccine, which is owned by Merck. The company keeps a stockpile of 300,000 doses, and preparing them takes months.
“We are extremely concerned about the size of the vaccine stockpile,” WHO’s emergencies director, Dr. Peter Salama, told the STAT media outlet in an interview this week, saying 300,000 doses is not sufficient as urban Ebola outbreaks become more common.
And we have not heard yet from the Anti-Vaxxers saying that the consequences of the vaccine are worse than dying of Ebola. Apparently painfully shitting your internal organs in a mixture of blood and mucus before dying is preferable option.
Let’s pray this strand reaches its natural cycle ASAP.