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Congo president must convince people Ebola is real

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Christian Fernsby |
Felix Tshisekedi
Africa   An experimental vaccine to contain Ebola showed an efficacy of 97.5 percent

Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi asked people to accept Ebola is real and trust health workers.

“It is not an imaginary disease,” Tshisekedi said after arriving in the city of Beni on his first tour of eastern Congo since being inaugurated in January.

“If we follow the instructions, in two or three months Ebola will be finished,” he optimistically told a crowd after having his temperature taken and washing his hands, as required of all incoming passengers to Beni airport.

Mistrust of first responders and widespread misinformation propagated by some community leaders has led many in affected areas of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo to refuse vaccinations. Instead, they turn to traditional healers, whose clinics have contributed to the hemorrhagic fever’s spread.

An experimental vaccine to contain Ebola disease outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is showing promising results, a new study released by the World Health Organization (WHO) said.

The vaccine showed an efficacy of 97.5 percent. Around 93,965 people at risk of the disease were vaccinated in August last year. Only 71 of them developed Ebola.

Of the 71, nearly 56 people developed symptoms in less than 10 days after getting the vaccination shot. It takes around 10 days for the vaccine to build immunity against the virus.

The other 15 people contracted the virus ten days after the vaccination.

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