Published: Thu, July 18, 2019
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

Ebola in Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Ebola in Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo has confirmed the first case of Ebola in Goma, which is the capital of the country's North Kivu province and lies on the Rwanda border. A laboratory test came back positive Sunday afternoon, according to the health ministry.

He says World Health Organization was informed Sunday that a pastor who had traveled from Butembo was infected with the deadly virus.

"Given that the patient was quickly identified, as well as all the passengers on the bus from Butembo, the risk of the disease spreading in the city of Goma is low", the ministry said.

A toxic mix of armed militias and a deep-rooted mistrust of health officials by communities have hampered efforts to halt the virus.

The other 18 passengers and the driver will begin getting vaccinations on Monday, it added.

Ebola spreads among humans through close contact with blood, body fluids, secretions or organs of an infected person.

A health worker wearing Ebola protection gear, walks before entering the Biosecure Emergency Care Unit (CUBE) at the ALIMA (The Alliance for International Medical Action) Ebola treatment centre in Beni, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, March 30, 2019. Last November, the health ministry of Goma launched response activities and preparations to fight against this deadly virus. "Ebola gets a free ride", Ghebreyesus said.

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At a meeting convened in Geneva by World Health Organization on Monday, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the spread of Ebola to Goma, a city of 2 million people was a potential "game-changer".

Symptoms appeared July 9 and he left for Goma on Friday, the ministry said.

Health experts have long feared that the disease responsible for killing almost 1,700 people since August would eventually make its way to Goma.

The Ebola outbreak in Congo's conflict-ridden North Kivu and Ituri provinces is the second largest after the historic 2014 epidemic that killed 11,300 people in West Africa.

"There is a grave risk of a major increase in numbers, or spread to new locations - as we've heard today in Goma", said Josie Golding, a specialist on epidemics at the Wellcome Trust global health charity. As many as 3,000 health workers in Goma have received an Ebola vaccine, Ghebreyesus confirmed.

In a statement on Monday, Rwandan Health Minister Diane Gashumba urged Rwanda residents to contribute in strengthening measures to prevent the spread of Ebola Virus to Rwanda.

"According to several sources, the attackers are people from the same neighborhood as the two victims who envied their neighbors because they had found a job in response to Ebola", the ministry said.

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