Published On: Thu, May 10th, 2018

WHO says mass vaccinations cannot prevent Ebola outbreaks

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The (WHO) has reported a new Ebola virus outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

As per a recent research, it has been suggested that prophylactic mass vaccination programs could not prevent the Ebola disease. The study says that Ebola virus outbreak control depends on the surveillance and the isolation of the Ebola cases.

Ebola virus (Image courtesy of ANI/Ventuno)

It is revealed that very high proportions of potentially affected populations need to be protected by vaccination so that herd immunity is established. Herd immunity is the level of immunity that prevents virus transmission within a population.

So to prevent outbreaks of ebola virus, 80% of the population needs to be immunized, even if a highly effective vaccine that can protect 90% of people after vaccination is available. But these high vaccination rates cannot be achieved as of now. In a vaccination trial during the West African Ebola virus epidemic, only 49% of individuals who were in contact with Ebola virus patients could be vaccinated.

34%of the people in contact with the ebola virus patients refused vaccination even though they got exposed to the disease. Presently, there are no clinical vaccine candidates that can protect against all four human-pathogenic Ebola viruses.

Mass vaccination program tend to become costly and even impractical as per the study. As many as 462 million people are living in the area affected by the ebola virus outbreak, which are mainly remote rural areas.

As per the research, the clinical vaccine candidates should be focused on the care workers who get involved in disease transmission, potentially in combination with the vaccination of patient contacts.

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