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WHO's Leader Will Visit Congo This Weekend Amid Ebola Outbreak

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Photographer: Yekaterina Shtukina/TASS via Bloomberg

The World Health Organization’s Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus will visit the Democratic Republic of Congo this weekend to assess the country’s needs as it faces an Ebola outbreak that was declared earlier this week, WHO said in a statement.

WHO said 34 Ebola cases have now been reported in the past five weeks, including two confirmed, 18 probable cases, and 14 suspected cases, up from the 32 cases that the organization last reported on May 10.

Tedros said he’s in contact with the country’s health minister and has assured him that “we’re ready to do all that’s needed to stop the spread of Ebola quickly.” Tedros said the organization is working with its partners to send more staff, equipment, and supplies to the affected area.

Tedros also confirmed on his Twitter account that the country has agreed to authorize the emergency use of the VSV vaccine. WHO said in 2015 that preliminary results showed 100 percent efficacy for the VSV-EBOV Ebola vaccine developed by Merck & Co. and NewLink Genetics.

WHO said it doesn’t at this time advise limits on travel and trade to the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is now facing its ninth Ebola outbreak since the virus was first discovered in that country in 1976. However, the organization said it is working with neighboring countries on border surveillance and preparedness for possible outbreaks.

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