Ebola vaccination campaigns begin in Congo as many remain unfazed

More than two dozen cases are confirmed in the latest outbreak, officials say.

The latest outbreak of the deadly, extremely contagious virus was declared in the northwestern province of Equateur, more than 300 miles away from the capital.

"We're used to it," Raymond Wabeno, 51, a driver in the capital city of Kinshasa told ABC News. This is the fourth outbreak in Equateur province and the ninth outbreak in the DRC, where the virus was first discovered in 1976.

"Most people know about Ebola, but they don't understand the gravity of the virus or how quickly it can spread," said Wabeno.

More than 7,500 doses of vaccines were shipped over the weekend to Equateur province, where authorities declared an outbreak in the remote towns of Bikoro, Iboko and in Mbandaka, a city of 1.2 million people.

At least 51 cases of hemorrhagic fever have been reported, according to figures provided by the Congo's Ministry of Health. Among those cases, the agency said 28 tested positive for Ebola, including four in Mbandaka.

"The problem is that we don't know who is contaminated," said Claude Madiata Matondo, 34, a security guard in Kinshasa. "We are told to wash our hands several times a day, but most people are not used to doing that. We live in insecurity -- many of us don't have unlimited access to water."

This time they have a new strategy, as well: Vaccines.

The first batch of vaccines are being given to health workers and second batch will be given to all those who have been in contact with someone who has Ebola. For each confirmed case, the WHO estimates there are between 100 and 150 people who are eligible for vaccination.

Additional doses of vaccines are remaining in Kinshasa for now. One of the worries is that the virus could spread to the city of 12 million people through the river Congo; many boats travel from Mbandaka to Kinshasa on a regular basis.

Launching the vaccination campaign today, the minister of health, Dr. Oly Ilunga Kalenga, encouraged citizens to engage fully in the response.

"Adopting all the protective measures against Ebola is an act of patriotism," he said.

While the government says they believe the outbreak can be managed, they have said they are preparing for the worst case scenario and 300,000 more doses are in Geneva and ready to be shipped if needed.

Implementing strict controls is a significant challenge. Today, at a port in Kinshasa, a policeman handed out flyers with instructions on how to prevent the spread of Ebola. But while boats arrive daily from Mbandaka, there were no signs of particular controls.

Logistics are also a challenge in the area where many roads are inaccessible, and getting vaccines to affected zones while keeping them stored in subzero temperatures is no easy task.

Convincing people in the country to fight back against Ebola is another task. Many people follow religious and traditional practices, especially during funerals, and those practices are not necessarily aligned with health recommendations.

As a result, authorities and international partners such as Oxfam are conducting awareness campaigns and reportedly going door to door to give advice on hygiene precautions to take in times of outbreaks.