Ebola Arrives in a Congolese city of Two Million Inhabitants
Ebola Arrives in a Congolese city of Two Million Inhabitants
Congo rules out using more Ebola trial vaccines
16 July, 2019, 13:39
Fears are growing that the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo could spiral further out of control as a case of the disease has emerged in Goma - a city that is home to around one million people and is a major trade and transport hub.
"Due to the speed with which the patient has been identified and isolated, as well as the identification of all bus passengers coming from Butembo, the risk of spreading into the rest of the city of Goma remains low".
He developed symptoms last week before taking a bus to Goma on Friday.
Dr Harouna Djingarey, infectious disease programme manager for the WHO's regional office in eastern DRC, said Goma's vaccination campaign, which kicked off on Monday, was vital to preventing Ebola reaching further afield.
Although officials expressed alarm at the confirmation of Ebola in Goma, the Congolese health ministry and the WHO said they have been preparing for this for months.
According to the latest health ministry figures issued on Saturday, 1,655 people have died from the haemorrhagic virus since August 1 previous year, when the disease broke out in North Kivu and spread to neighbouring Ituri.
But efforts to roll back Ebola have been hampered by insecurity in a region plagued by militia groups, who have attacked treatment centers.
Insecurity in the restive region, including a long-standing presence of various rebel groups in the provinces of Ituri and North Kivu, has made it hard for health workers to access people who may have been exposed to the virus.
However, the WHO's director-general, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said the identification of a confirmed case in Goma "could potentially be a game-changer in the epidemic" and he would reconvene the emergency committee as soon as possible to reassess the situation.
Two community health workers were murdered in their home in Beni, northeastern DRC, the health ministry said on Monday.
Unidentified attackers killed two Ebola health workers near Mukulia in North Kivu province over the weekend, the latest in a string of assaults this year that have injured or killed dozens of responders.
It will be attended by government ministers from the DR Congo and Britain, senior officials of the World Bank, the World Health Organization (WHO), and other United Nations agencies.
So far, there have been almost 2,500 cases of the disease, including 1,600 deaths. The border between the two countries extends into Lake Kivu, bottom left.
The world's worst epidemic of Ebola, a haemorrhagic fever that can spread through bodily fluids, killed about 11,300 people in West Africa as it surged through Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia from 2013 to 2016.
"Every attack gives Ebola an opportunity to spread".
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