The Latest: Congo starts giving Ebola vaccine to some babies

The Latest on the Ebola outbreak in Congo and Uganda (all times local):

5:45 p.m.

Health officials in eastern Congo are vaccinating some pregnant women and infants against Ebola for the first time since the outbreak was declared in August.

More than 1,400 people have now died from Ebola, and an experimental vaccine produced by Merck has provided a high degree of protection. More than 130,000 people have received the vaccine in Congo and Uganda, which reported its first Ebola cases this week. Two were children.

On Thursday, health workers in Congo’s town of Beni began vaccinating pregnant women who have passed the first trimester and are considered contacts of an Ebola case.

Breastfeeding babies are also being given the vaccine if they have been exposed to the virus.

Doctors had been concerned about the potential harm because the vaccine has not been tested in those groups.

That guidance has been reevaluated in light of the worsening outbreak and the high rate of fatalities among pregnant women and children.


10:30 a.m.

Uganda’s health ministry says a second person infected with the Ebola virus has died after a family exposed to the disease quietly crossed the border from Congo.

The first cross-border cases in this Ebola outbreak have prompted a World Health Organization expert committee to meet on Friday to discuss whether to declare a global health emergency.

Health ministry spokesman Emmanuel Ainebyoona on Thursday confirmed the death of the 50-year-old woman overnight.

Her 5-year-old grandson was the first confirmed death from Ebola in Uganda. The boy’s 3-year-old brother also is infected.

Congo’s health ministry says all members of the Congolese-Ugandan family have agreed to be repatriated to Congo for experimental treatments as part of clinical trials.

The outbreak declared in eastern Congo in August has killed more than 1,400 people.

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