The World Health Organization announced on Friday that deaths due to the Ebola virus are about to rise above 1,000 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Dr. Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO Health Emergencies Program, said during a news briefing in Geneva that the organization fears continued “intense transmission” of the virus. Ryan said the WHO plans to introduce an unlicensed new Ebola vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson, in addition to a Merck vaccine already being used, as “another tool in the toolbox.” The epidemic has been raging through the country since mid-summer. However, the overriding problem in the epidemic is violence, as security incidents continue to plague the response to the outbreak. More than 120 rebel groups are vying for control in the civil war-ravaged country. On Thursday, a would-be assault on a treatment facility slowed vaccination and daily checks on some 12,000 people potentially exposed to the virus, according to Ryan.
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