Ebola vaccinations begin in Congo's northwest town of Bikoro

Ebola vaccinations begin in Congo's northwest town of Bikoro

Jasarevic said in addition the Ministry of Health and WHO had reviewed all the cases considered likely and after investigations, it turned out that some were not cases of Ebola.

Based on current rate of outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in Democratic Republic of Congo, the World Health Organization has said that it is assuming a potential 100-300 cases of the disease over a three-month period.

President Joseph Kabila and his Cabinet agreed Saturday to increase funds for the Ebola emergency response which now amounts to more than $4 million.

They cite such factors as the way care is given to the sick; religion; superstition; and funerary rites that help spread the virus. An Ebola vaccination campaign is under way in Mbandaka, the city of 1.2 million on the Congo River where four Ebola cases have been confirmed. Several hundred people who have come into contact with infected persons are now being monitored by health authorities.

There is no cure for Ebola at the moment, but there is an experimental vaccine that can inoculate people that came in contact with Ebola cases. The vaccine is still in the test stages, but it was effective in the West Africa outbreak a few years ago. The vaccination campaign has started today in Iboko and Bikoro. One challenge will be keeping the vaccine cold in a region with poor infrastructure and patchy electricity.

Congo has contained several past Ebola outbreaks but the spread of the hemorrhagic fever to an urban area poses a major challenge.

Ebola has twice made it to Congo's capital in the past and was rapidly stopped.

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"We have lost many of our family members so far in Bikoro and other villages", a resident of Mbandaka, Michel Bokungu, told Xinhua.

"Our grandparents lived a long time here in Mbandaka and they never experienced this", said a merchant named Yvonne.

"I think it is an epidemic that we will quickly master".

The appears to be moving swiftly to contain this latest epidemic, experts said.

Ebola is initially transmitted to people from wild animals, including bats and monkeys.

Katherine Overcamp of Catholic Relief Services revealed that the Fr. Lucian contracted Ebola while 'taking care of someone who passed away.' She added the priest is "responding well to treatment", the Catholic News Service reported. After an incubation period that lasts between 2 to 21 days, the infected person may present symptoms such as high fever, headaches, muscular pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and in some cases internal and external hemorrhages. Without preventive measures, the virus can spread quickly between people and is fatal in up to 90% of cases.