Congo Ebola death toll nears 1,000, expected to spread -WHO

The WHO reportedly plans to introduce an unlicensed new Ebola vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson, in addition to a Merck vaccine already being used.

FILE: A hygienist is seen inside an Ebola Treatment Centre run by The Alliance for International Medical Action (ALIMA) on 12 August 2018, in Beni. Picture: AFP

GENEVA - The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday it feared continued “intense transmission” of Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where deaths from a nine-month-old epidemic are 994 and expected to exceed 1,000 within hours.

The WHO plans to introduce an unlicensed new Ebola vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson, in addition to a Merck vaccine already being used, as “another tool in the toolbox”, Dr Michael Ryan, Executive Director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, told a news briefing in Geneva.

But security incidents continue to plague the response to the outbreak, including a would-be assault on a facility on Thursday, slowing vaccination and daily checks on some 12,000 people potentially exposed to the virus, he said.