Pregnant Women In DRC Begin Receiving Experimental Ebola Vaccine; Virus Returns To Previous Hot Spots; U.N. Identifies ‘Several Massacres’ In Ituri Province

CIDRAP News: Ebola cases near 2,300 as virus returns to earlier hot spots
“The World Health Organization (WHO) [Thursday] in its weekly profile of Ebola activity aired growing concern about case spikes in two Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) areas — Mabalako and Mandima — that were hit hard when the outbreak began last August. Meanwhile, the DRC health ministry yesterday reported 7 new cases, and the WHO’s online Ebola dashboard says there [were] 13 more [Friday], which would lift the overall outbreak total to 2,297 cases…” (Schnirring, 6/28).

Devex: Pregnant women in DRC finally receive Ebola vaccine
“Earlier this month, pregnant women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo finally started receiving a life-saving Ebola vaccine, but the months-long delay has put hundreds of women at risk. … An experimental vaccine — VSV-EBOV, produced by Merck — has helped to limit further spread [of the virus]. … But it was not made available to pregnant and breastfeeding women due to a lack of evidence about its effects on mothers and infants — despite pregnant women facing mortality rates of up to 93% from Ebola, compared to an average of 50% in the general population…” (Higgins, 6/28).

U.N. News: Ebola fight ongoing amid evidence of ‘several massacres’ in DR Congo’s Ituri province
“…In an update [last week] on the situation in Ituri and North Kivu provinces, nearly 11 months after the outbreak began, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported 2,284 cases of infection so far, and 1,540 deaths. At the same time, the U.N. human rights office, OHCHR, announced that a ‘robust’ probe found that 117 people had been killed in ‘several massacres’ involving multiple villages in gold-rich Ituri, between 10 and 13 June…” (6/28).

Additional coverage of the DRC Ebola outbreak and response is available from BBC News, Forbes, France 24 Observers, and the Pulitzer Center.