Published: Fri, August 02, 2019
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

Rwanda, DR Congo border remains open

Rwanda, DR Congo border remains open

After the first person to contract the disease in Goma died last month, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak an global health emergency.

"In Bukavu, there is no case of Ebola, the population must not panic but must comply with hygienic standards pending the control that takes place in the boats that come from Goma", said the authorities in a news release.

Doctor Aruna Abedi, the Ebola coordinator for North Kivu province, said a person who had contact with the man is receiving treatment after showing signs of the disease.

An epidemic of Ebola in eastern DR Congo marked its first anniversary on Thursday with two more cases in the densely-populated frontier city of Goma and accusations by Kinshasa that Rwanda had rushed to shutter its border in response to the crisis.

To mark Thursday's first anniversary of the current outbreak being declared, United Nations agencies issued a joint statement on Wednesday, saying there have been more than 2,600 confirmed cases, including more than 1,800 deaths, in parts of DRC's Ituri and North Kivu provinces.

In a statement, President Felix Tshisekedi's office condemned a "unilateral decision by the Rwandan authorities" that affected citizens from both countries who had to cross the border as part of their daily life.

CDC Director Dr. Robert R. Redfield said Thursday on Twitter that armed conflict was hampering health officials' attempts to manage the outbreak, "increas [ing] the risk of disease spread".

The outbreak has killed more than 1,800 people so far, making it the second-deadliest Ebola emergency in history.

Authorities in that country on Thursday said the one-year-old daughter of an Ebola patient who died on Wednesday had also contracted the virus.

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A government official told The EastAfrican that the Ministry of Health would give more details on the border closure but confirmed that the move was due to fears of the spread of the deadly virus.

Goma is the capital of North Kivu province, which has borne the brunt of the year-old epidemic, followed by neighbouring Ituri province.

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He had spent several days at home with his family while showing symptoms.

Witnesses say border crossings with Rwanda near the city now appear to be closed.

"This is why we have been doing intensive preparedness work in Goma so that any new case is identified and responded to immediately", he explained.

Over 5000 health workers have been vaccinated against Ebola in Goma, DRC. And yet many people in the region don't believe that the virus is real, health workers have said.

An Ebola Treatment Centre has been set up in Rwanda and 23 isolation units are being prepared in hospitals in 15 priority districts, according to the Health Ministry.

As such, the agency is working with industry to develop medical countermeasures, including the two Ebola vaccine candidates (rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine from Merck and Janssen's Ad26.ZEBOV/MVA-BN vaccine).

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