1st Ebola death confirmed in DRC's Goma

20 Juillet, 2019, 16:07 | Auteur: Yves Courtet
  • 1st Ebola death confirmed in DRC's Goma

After the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Wednesday declared the Ebola crisis in the DR Congo a public health emergency of global concern (PHEIC), the worldwide community is being urged to step up, and put its full support behind the Ebola response.

But the Organisation said that developments such as the discovery of the first confirmed case of Ebola in Goma, a city of nearly two million people on the border with Rwanda, and the gateway to the rest of DRC and the world, mean concerns remain.

Public health authorities in the DRC have failed to contain the second-deadliest outbreak of Ebola, with more than 1,550 confirmed deaths since it emerged a year ago.

And the country's volatile security situation is complicating matters, as Al Jazeera's Catherine Soi reports from Nairobi. The disease's presence was also recently confirmed in the DRC city of Goma, which is considered a transport hub and is near the Rwandan border.

Uganda had been previously hailed by World Health Organization for containing the spread of the virus after two people died of the Ebola virus in the Western Uganda district of Kasese. At three prior meetings on the topic, the WHO declined to declare the outbreak an worldwide public-health emergency. The virus is most often spread by close contact with bodily fluids of people exhibiting symptoms and with contaminated objects such as sheets.

Uganda confirms its first case, a 5-year-old Congolese child who dies the next day. Efforts to contain the virus have been hurt by mistrust among wary locals that has prompted deadly attacks on health workers.

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Countries who are at risk are advised to work in tandem with partners to improve emergency preparedness against the disease.

And as of Monday, the outbreak in the Congo has infected 2 512 people and killed 1 676 of them, the Times reported.

In the case of Ebola hemorrhagic fever, this declaration of global health emergency reflects the concern of experts to see the disease spread in other countries.

Relief work in the Congo has been stymied by militant activities in Ituri and North Kivu. The virus has since been detected in neighboring Uganda. The World Bank in May also pledged to release an additional $10 million from its Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility to help with response; the WHO has to-date received $6.5 million, officials said at the press conference Wednesday.

That outbreak - also declared a global emergency at the time - infected almost 29 000 people and caused over 11 000 deaths.

The fact that the CDC has already activated its own emergency operations center "speaks on its own", said J. Stephen Morrison, a senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington who has tracked the outbreak.

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