There are signs that the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo may not be as big as was once feared, World Health Organization officials indicated Thursday.
Fourteen suspected cases have tested negative for the deadly virus, Alison Clements-Hunt, a WHO spokeswoman currently in Likati, the epicenter of the response, told STAT in an interview.
So far there have been two confirmed cases, four probable cases, and four deaths. Another 40 people are currently listed as suspected cases, said Clements-Hunt. Roughly 300 people who are contacts of known or suspected cases are being monitored to see if they develop symptoms.
Given what appears to be the limited scope of the outbreak, the use of an experimental Ebola vaccine may not be required.
“For the time, there doesn’t seem that there was really a necessity to do so. I hope it remains the case,” Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny, a WHO assistant director-general, told STAT.
That said, Kieny confirmed planning continues to allow for deployment of vaccine, if the government of DRC asks for it. But it may not, she acknowledged.