Published: Tue, July 16, 2019
Medicine | By Brett Sutton

Ebola spread to east Congo's Goma massively raises risk - United Nations

Ebola spread to east Congo's Goma massively raises risk - United Nations

The health ministry of Democratic Republic of Congo said Monday two community health workers engaged in Ebola prevention have been killed in the eastern North Kivu province.

"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", it said. His first symptoms were detected on July 9 when he was still in Butembo.

"Though the spread of the disease to Goma is a sign that the response still has work to do in gaining the trust of the local population, we welcome the progress that has been made over recent weeks to reset and reevaluate the response strategy", said Riebl.

The other passengers and the driver will be vaccinated against Ebola on Monday, said the ministry, urging the population of one of Africa's largest countries to "keep calm".

The ongoing Ebola outbreak has spread through Congo's North Kivu and Ituri provinces for nearly exactly one year.

But efforts to roll back Ebola have been hampered by insecurity in a region plagued by militia groups, who have attacked treatment centers.

The border remains open but goods normally purchased in DRC by Rwandan people can be sourced locally until the situation is contained, she said, adding that no Ebola case has been reported in Rwanda.

Unidentified attackers killed two Ebola health workers near Mukulia in North Kivu province over the weekend, the latest in a string of assaults this year that have injured or killed dozens of responders.

A worker from the World Health Organization decontaminates the doorway of a house in the village of Mabalako, in eastern Congo last month.

"The case in Goma could potentially be a gamechanger in this epidemic", WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the meeting. He gave different names at each checkpoint, possibly "indicating his desire to hide his identity and state of health", the health ministry said in a statement.

Ebola spreads when humans touch bodily fluids or contaminated objects.

"And Goma is a warning, and that warning may result in more cases".

It will be attended by government ministers from the DR Congo and Britain, senior officials of the World Bank, the World Health Organization, and other United Nations agencies.

"Goma is a city of two million people, near the border with Rwanda, and is a gateway to the region and the world".

It is already by far the most lethal epidemic in the history of the country and the second worldwide, second only to that of West Africa (Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia), with more than 11 thousand deaths from 2013 to 2014. "This is yet another positive opportunity towards turning around the response and setting us on track to stop the spread of this deadly disease".

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