Pastor confirmed with Ebola as disease spreads in Democratic Republic of Congo
18 July, 2019, 18:31
The city, located on the nation's eastern border with Rwanda, is the bustling capital of North Kivu province, one of the two affected provinces in the epidemic.
The case, which was confirmed Sunday by the country's Ministry of Health, has raised fears that the virus could make its way across the porous border into still-uninfected Rwanda - something health experts have been working desperately to prevent.
As the first case of Ebola is confirmed in Goma, DRC, the most populated area to see Ebola yet, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) is on the ground working in health facilities throughout the city to train health workers to recognize Ebola symptoms and safely triage and transfer suspected cases to Ebola treatment centers (ETCs).
Authorities said they had tracked down all the passengers on the bus the man had taken from Butembo, one of the towns hardest hit by the disease.
The Ebola virus is transmitted from human to human through contact with bodily fluids of an infected person.
Officials with Congo's Health Ministry said Monday that unidentified attackers had killed two Ebola community health workers over the weekend in North Kivu province.
"Upon his arrival in Goma this morning, he went to the health centre to continue the treatment".
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The recent Ebola epidemic which has claimed the lives of 1665 people has so far been confined to the north and this new case tests the measures in place.
The pastor began showing signs of illness on July 9 when he was still in Butembo.
North Kivu province's outbreak since a year ago had also seen 700 people cured, and more than 160,000 vaccinated, according to DR Congo's Health Ministry.
"Due to the speed with which the patient has been identified and isolated, as well as the identification of all bus passengers from Butembo, the risk of spreading to the rest of the city of Goma remains low", the ministry said.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organisation (WHO), spoke at a "high-level event" in the DRC on Monday, attended by health minister Dr Oly Ilunga and the UK's global development secretary Rory Stewart. Mistrust has been high in a region that had never faced Ebola before and the attacks by rebel groups have undermined aid efforts. Three thousand health workers in the city have already been vaccinated.
Meanwhile, last week the Ministry reported that it had enough vaccines rVSV-ZEBOV, an experimental treatment of the German Merck laboratory, with which nearly 160 thousand people were already immunized.
"We are dealing with one of the world's most risky viruses in the one of the world's most unsafe areas", Ghebreyesus said.
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