Uganda is the first country in the world to give the vaccine without an active outbreak of the disease, but is judged to be at very high risk.
Tom Inglesby, MD, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Baltimore, said if the Ebola outbreak becomes endemic in the Congo's North Kivu province, it shows "we've lost the ability to trace contacts, stop transmission chains and contain the outbreak". "Quick action is needed to affirm US leadership in eastern Congo, better understand the specific security threats at play, and come up with practical solutions that permit the safe deployment of a small USA expert contingent into the center of the outbreak, where seasoned USA talent is most needed" (11/1).
Despite vaccination efforts in eastern Congo, Ebola is still spreading in the region as a conflict between militant groups battling for control and government forces hamper access to some of the hardest-hit areas.
The daily rate of new Ebola cases more than doubled in early October.
An estimated 60 to 80 per cent of new confirmed cases have no known epidemiological link to prior cases, making it very hard for responders to track cases and stop transmission.
The lack of security has complicated efforts to contain the Ebola outbreak as humanitarian workers helping to fight the outbreak have come under attack by armed groups.
Healthcare responders may consider vaccinating broader populations in place of the current vaccination strategy, which focuses on vaccinating people who have been exposed to Ebola patients.
When contact tracing begins to fall apart, "then you are entering another phase and losing the hope that you can arrest the outbreak through standard interventions", said J Stephen Morrison, senior vice president at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies.
The rVSV-Ebola vaccine is now being administered in DRC and is demonstrating positive protective results and potency against the Ebola virus-Zaire type.
The World Health Organization, CDC and other worldwide health organizations say they are anxious about the current Ebola outbreak spreading to port cities like Butembo, which will only exacerbate infection transmission rates.
"It is first and foremost the work of a very close-knit team comprised of WHO, MONUSCO and other agencies with the DRC government authorities who are very mobilised", he said.
The World Health Organisation's director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus joined Lacroix in Beni as part of joint United Nations efforts to stop Ebola.