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Infectious Diseases

Updated 12 September 2018

Positive reports on Ebola vaccine, but scepticism still a problem

There have been several, positive reports on the Ebola vaccine being rolled-out in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but many people are still in denial about the efficacy it.

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Ebola has done an abundance of damage to villages and towns in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but they are far better off than what they were about four years ago.

Circa 2014, over 11 000 people in west Africa died from the deadly Ebola virus, but since then a vaccine has been developed and so far, it's proven to be successful.

Even though some hope, in the form of the vaccine, has been given, many people are still skeptical about being treated because it's believed that the only people who die are those who go for treatment.

In the city of Beni, a resident said that someone has a small fever, they're taken to hospital, but then they never return because they've died. They also say that they haven't seen the effects of the disease in their city, even though it's been said that 20 people have already died because of the disease.

Several areas in the DRC, where civilians are infected with the disease, are also war zones and there is fear that this will prevent doctors and their medical teams from working in the area, out of fear for their own safety.

The disease has returned after the biggest outbreak, which took place in 2014, and it's believed that education and hygiene may be a few of the major problems regarding the spreading of the disease, but food sources could be another possibility.

Reuters pharmaceuticals correspondent, Ben Hirschler, said that the virus is endemic in the tropical forests of Africa; it's in large reservoirs of fruit bats, of which there are vast populations. 

Hirschler said that the bats don't seem to get sick, carrying the virus, but they can pass it on to other animals, drop infected fruit that could be eaten by other animals, and when people come into contact with the other animals, this is when the virus is transmitted to humans.

Health24 reported that researchers have found yet another strain of the Ebola virus in bats in Sierra Leone, which has not yet been detected in other animals or humans.

While researchers know that the virus does have the potential to infect human cells, they are currently still uncertain about whether it has caused human infection and whether it is harmful or not.