DAKAR, Senegal — Ebola vaccinations began Wednesday in Congo’s latest outbreak of the deadly virus that has already claimed at least nine lives.
Health officials have warned that containing the outbreak in North Kivu province is complicated by the presence of multiple armed groups vying for mineral-rich land in the northeastern region that borders Uganda and Rwanda. Ebola screening of travelers at the Congo-Rwanda border was ‘‘already in high gear,’’ the World Health Organization said.
The latest outbreak, declared Aug. 1 in Mangina village in the Mabalako health zone, is Congo’s 10th since the virus was identified in 1976. This outbreak has seen 16 confirmed Ebola cases, 27 probable cases, and 46 suspected ones.
Some 36 people have died from hemorrhagic fever amid the outbreak, but officials said many cannot be confirmed as Ebola deaths.
Three thousand doses of the Ebola vaccine are being sent from Kinshasa, the capital, and will be used first in the Mabalako health zone and in the nearby city of Beni.
The experimental vaccine was used in an earlier, unrelated outbreak in Congo’s northwest that was declared over last month.
The first to be vaccinated are health workers, contacts of confirmed Ebola cases, and their contacts in what is called a ring vaccination campaign. The strategy is the same used to contain the previous outbreak in Equateur province.
The first people to be vaccinated on Wednesday included the Beni region’s chief doctor and medical staff. Other residents in Beni and Mangina will receive vaccinations Thursday, authorities said.