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Dr. Catherine Houlihan returned from the African country to the UK in June
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Dr. Catherine Houlihan returned from the African country to the UK in June

Dr. Catherine Houlihan returned from the African country to the UK in June

A British doctor who helped fight Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo says an experimental vaccine & # 39; has changed the path of the outbreak & # 39 ;.

Dr. Catherine Houlihan, from Aberdeen, returned to the UK from the African nation in June after spending a month at the heart of the epidemic.

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The 39-year-old said the jab helped to get the situation out of hand, fearing it could spread to neighboring countries.

Official figures show that 2,070 people died of Ebola in the current DRC outbreak, which is the second worst recorded in history.

Dr. Houlihan teaches infectious diseases and virology at both the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and University College London.

She said: & I think the vaccine has changed the way of this outbreak. We could have had a death toll similar to West Africa if we hadn't had it. & # 39;

At least 11,000 people died in the worst killer virus outbreak ever between 2013-16, which decimated Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.

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Dr. Houlihan said the data shows that the experimental vaccine, developed by pharmaceutical company Merck, is about 97 percent effective.

& # 39; Health workers are one of the risk groups for catching Ebola and this extra protection allows them to perform their duties much more effectively & she said.

The vaccine, called V920, was developed with support from the UK Department of International Development (DFID).

More than 200,000 people have now received the vaccine, which is proven to be approximately 97 percent effective in preventing the deadly virus.

Dr. Houlihan, lecturer in infectious diseases and virology at both the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and University College London, is depicted in the DRC

Dr. Houlihan, lecturer in infectious diseases and virology at both the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and University College London, is depicted in the DRC

In the photo, a health professional is sprayed down with chlorinated water before he removes his personal protective equipment
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In the photo, a health professional is sprayed down with chlorinated water before he removes his personal protective equipment

The 39-year-old said the jab helped to get the situation out of hand, fearing it could spread to neighboring countries.

Dr. Houlihan was located in Goma and Butembo in the war-torn province of North Kivu, where more than 120 militia are active.

She said that five percent of all cases in DRC are healthcare workers, most of whom work in smaller healthcare institutions and not in Ebola treatment centers.

She praised the courage of the local staff who tackled the outbreak from the beginning of August and continue to work despite the dangers.

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Attempts to control the virus have been hampered by violent attacks on health workers and treatment centers.

Two Ebola health workers were killed in North Kivu last month and the World Health Organization reported 42 attacks on treatment centers between January and May.

Dr. Houlihan said: & # 39; The security situation in DR Congo is the biggest difference between this outbreak and that in West Africa.

Dr. Houlihan was located in Goma and Butembo in the war-torn province of North Kivu, where more than 120 militia are active

Dr. Houlihan was located in Goma and Butembo in the war-torn province of North Kivu, where more than 120 militia are active

Dr. Houlihan was located in Goma and Butembo in the war-torn province of North Kivu, where more than 120 militia are active

The Ebola death toll in the Democratic Republic of Congo is the highest of 2,000 a year after the outbreak was declared, according to government data
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The Ebola death toll in the Democratic Republic of Congo is the highest of 2,000 a year after the outbreak was declared, according to government data

The Ebola death toll in the Democratic Republic of Congo is the highest of 2,000 a year after the outbreak was declared, according to government data

A TIMETABLE OF THE EBOLA OUTBREAK OF THE CONGO

2018

August 1: The outbreak is declared in the North Kivu province in northeastern Congo, a turbulent region where dozens of rebel groups are active.

August 8: The first of thousands of vaccinations starts with an experimental but effective vaccine.

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September 5: Congo says the outbreak is spreading to Butembo, a city with more than 1 million inhabitants.

October 2: Red Cross workers are attacked by community members in an early sign of resistance to Ebola response in a region where the virus had never been registered before.

October 17: After a meeting of emergency experts, the World Health Organization says it is "deeply concerned", but the outbreak is not a global emergency.

November 29: WHO says this is now the second largest Ebola outbreak in history with 426 cases.

December 26: Congo forbids people in important areas affected by Ebola to vote in the presidential election, to generate anger and to rumor that the outbreak is a political trick.

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2019

February 24: Attackers attack an Ebola treatment center in Katwa, killing a concierge and a leading MSF group in a few days to suspend operations there and in Butembo.

April 12: After a second emergency meeting, the WHO says the outbreak is not yet a global emergency.

April 19: Attackers storm a hospital in Butembo and kill a WHO epidemiologist.

May 3: Congo & # 39; s health ministry says more than 1,000 people died in the outbreak.

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June 4: The outbreak exceeds 2,000 confirmed Ebola cases.

June 11: Uganda announces its first confirmed Ebola case at the outbreak.

June 14: After a third emergency meeting, the WHO says that the outbreak is not yet a global emergency.

July 14: Congo & # 39; s health ministry confirms the first Ebola case in Goma, a city with more than 2 million people on the Rwandan border.

July 17: After a fourth expert meeting, the WHO declares an international emergency. More than 1,600 people have died since the outbreak began.

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July 30: Congo officials say a second Ebola case has been confirmed in Goma, without any connection with the previous case.

August 1: Congo officials say the victim's wife and 1-year-old daughter are testing positive for Ebola, the first transmission of the virus in Goma.

August 1: Rwanda closes the border with Congo close to the city of Goma, but reopens later on the same day and a health minister denies that it was once closed.

August 7: Three Congolese doctors are detained for the murder of a World Health Organization (WHO) doctor, Richard Valery Mouzoko Kiboung, who was shot on April 19 in an attack on a hospital in the eastern city of Butembo.

August 13: Ebola can no longer be called an incurable disease, scientists say, after successful drug trials in the DRC.

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August 16: South Kivu Province announces its first confirmed cases, two people, one of whom was fatal.

& # 39; Certainly, visiting small health centers outside of Goma was not an easy journey, knowing that you could meet armed militias and that health workers have been targeted.

& # 39; We drove past people carrying guns and it was sometimes a struggle to say whether they were the army or the Mai Mai militias when wearing camouflage clothing. & # 39;

Dr. Houlihan, who spent some time in Sierra Leone during the outbreak of West Africa, added: & # 39; It caused more fear than my previous experiences. & # 39;

Secretary of International Development Alok Sharma said: & Ebola has already taken far too many lives in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

& # 39; It is shocking that it has wiped out entire families, and one year after the onset of this outbreak it shows no signs of delay.

& # 39; The UK has taken the lead in tackling this deadly disease and we can be proud of our support to create a life-saving Ebola vaccine that has inoculated 180,000 people so far.

& # 39; Diseases such as Ebola have no respect for boundaries. This could spread beyond DRC. It is essential that the rest of the international community act to help. & # 39;

He called on the international community to participate and help, and added: & # 39; If we don't do anything now, thousands of lives could be lost. & # 39;

WHAT EBOLA IS AND HOW KILLED IS IT?

Ebola, a haemorrhagic fever, killed at least 11,000 worldwide after decimating West Africa and spreading rapidly over a two-year period.

That epidemic was officially pronounced in January 2016, when Liberia was announced by the WHO to be Ebola-free.

The country, shaken back and forth by civil wars that ended in 2003, was hit hardest by the fever, with 40 percent of deaths there.

Sierra Leone reported the highest number of Ebola cases, with nearly all infected residents of the nation.

WHERE did it start?

An analysis, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed that the outbreak began in Guinea – alongside neighbors Liberia and Sierra Leone.

A team of international researchers was able to reduce the epidemic to a two-year-old boy in Meliandou – about 400 miles (650 km) from the capital, Conakry.

Emile Ouamouno, better known as Patient Zero, may have contracted the deadly virus by playing with bats in a hollow tree, a study suggested.

HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE FROZEN?

WHICH COUNTRIES ARE DURING THE EBOLA DURING THE 2014-16 EPIDEMY? (CDC numbers)
COUNTRYCASESDIALSDEATH RATE (%)
GUINEA3814254466.7%
SIERRA LEONE14,124395628.0%
LIBERIA10,678481045.0%
NIGERIA20840.0%
SENEGAL10N / A
SPAIN10N / A
U.S4125.0%
MALI8675.0%
UK10N / A
ITALY10N / A

Figures show that almost 29,000 people have been infected by Ebola – which means that the virus has killed around 40 percent of people.

Cases and deaths were also reported in Nigeria, Mali and the US – but on a much smaller scale, with 15 deaths between the three countries.

Health officials in Guinea reported a mysterious bug in the southeastern region of the country before the WHO confirmed it was Ebola.

Ebola was first identified by scientists in 1976, but the most recent outbreak overshadowed all other data recorded in history, figures show.

HOW DO PEOPLE HAVE THE VIRUS IN ACCORDANCE?

Scientists believe that ebola is usually transmitted to humans through fruit bats, but antelopes, porcupines, gorillas, and chimpanzees can also be the culprits.

It can be transmitted between people via blood, secretions, and other human body fluids – and surfaces – that are infected.

IS THERE A TREATMENT?

The WHO warns that & # 39; no proven treatment & # 39; is for Ebola – but dozens of drugs and injections are being tested in the event of a similar devastating outbreak.

However, there is hope, after an experimental vaccine, called RVSV-ZEBOV, protected nearly 6,000 people. The results were published in The Lancet magazine.

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