Ebola confirmed in DRC city of Goma, Rwanda on alert

16 Juillet, 2019, 12:13 | Auteur: Yves Courtet
  • The Ebola outbreak in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo that began in August 2018 has so far killed 1,655 people and 694 have been cured by July 2019 according to a health ministry bulletin

Congo's Health Ministry confirmed the first case of the Ebola virus in the city of Goma late Sunday night, in what could be a major escalation for the outbreak raging in the country. Almost 2,500 people have been infected and more than 1,600 killed in the second biggest outbreak on record. The city is an important transit point for the region and beyond and a bustling trade hub drawing travellers from throughout Congo's east. Mistrust has been high in a region that had never faced Ebola before and the attacks by rebel groups have undermined aid efforts.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) ecently expressed concern that the spread of Ebola in the DRC had escalated in the past few months, with more than 2,000 cases recorded since the epidemic broke out again.

The committee has been convened three times in the past to decide whether or not the epidemic warrants being declared a global emergency; it has declined every time to do so.

On Monday the UN's Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock said a "big scale up" in donations is needed in order to tackle the Ebola outbreak.

Ryan said 30 contacts in the Goma case had already been vaccinated and the remaining 30 would be vaccinated on Tuesday. No other patients were in the health center at the time, according to the health ministry.

Goma had been preparing for the arrival of Ebola for months by setting up hand-washing stations, making sure moto-taxi drivers do not share helmets, vaccinating 3,000 health care workers and running an operational treatment centre since February.

"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 went through several health checkpoints on the road "but did not seem to show signs of the disease".

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Additionally, 160 239 people have been vaccinated, it said. The health ministry said the man who arrived earlier Sunday in the regional capital was quickly transported to an Ebola treatment center.

Two fatal cases were reported in Uganda last month, marking the first confirmed cross-border cases of the virus in the current epidemic and prompting the WHO's emergency committee to weigh for a third time whether to declare the outbreak an worldwide health emergency. Neighboring Rwanda also has taken measures to stop the disease from spreading across its border.

The Goma patient was described as a pastor who had been on a trip to another town, Butembo, one of the towns hardest hit by the outbreak. A family who fell ill while in Congo did cross the border into neighbouring Uganda where two of them then died.

According to the World Health Organization, the incubation period, that is, the time interval from infection with the virus to onset of symptoms, is from 2 to 21 days.

In May experts advising the World Health Organization recommended that other vaccines be introduced to help ensure that vaccine supplies last and specifically mentioned a new experimental vaccine manufactured by Johnson & Johnson.

Combined, the two provinces border Rwanda, Uganda and South Sudan.

"Just when we start to get control of the virus in one area, it appears in another", Ghebreyesus said at a press conference Monday at the United Nations office in Geneva.

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