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Burundi starts vaccinating health workers against Ebola, says WHO

Nairobi: The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday that Burundi had begun vaccinating frontline workers against Ebola at its border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, where an outbreak of the virus has killed close to 1,900 people.
The campaign to vaccinate at-risk staff against the deadly haemorrhagic fever started Tuesday at Gatumba, the main crossing point from Burundi to its much-larger neighbour, WHO said.
Burundi has received doses of the rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine, an unlicensed product that has been shown to be effective against the Zairian strain of the virus raging in DR Congo.
It would be administered to those at greatest risk such as health workers along the border, laboratory staff and burial teams, WHO said.
“The vaccination of health and frontline staff is a significant step forward in preparing for the response to this disease,” said Dr Kazadi Mulombo, WHO representative in Burundi.
The vaccine, developed by US pharmaceutical group Merck, proved “highly effective” in a trial conducted in Guinea in 2015 during the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, he added. (AFP)

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