First Ebola case confirmed in Congolese city of Goma

Ebola virus. Photo: NIAID

July 15 (UPI) — A case of Ebola has been confirmed in the city of Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, the Ministry of Public Health said.

In a press release Sunday, the DRC Ministry of Public Health said it was the first confirmed case of the disease in the city since the outbreak began last August.

“The risk of spreading the disease in the rest of the city Goma is low as the patient was isolated and transferred to the Goma treatment center upon Ebola arrival,” the ministry said on Twitter. “Medical staff at the health center he visited reacted quickly with the preparation and response planning activities.”

The ministry said the patient, a 46-year-old pastor, entered Goma by bus from Butembo, where he had preached at seven churches, regularly laying his hands on the heads of those in attendance, including the sick.

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

The ministry said that all 18 passengers and the driver of the bus were immediately identified and were to be vaccinated on Monday.

“While not welcome news, it is something we have long anticipated,” World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a Twitter thread. “We have been doing intensive work to prepare Goma so that any case is identified and responded to immediately.”

He said the patient was receiving treatment at the Ebola Treatment Center in Goma run by the Ministry of Public Health and medical humanitarian organization MSF International. The center, he said, has been open since February and 3,000 health workers in the city had been vaccinated in case of such a situation.

Since the beginning of the epidemic in the DRC, there have been 2,489 cases of Ebola, 2,395 of which have been confirmed and 94 have been categorized as probable, according to Ministry of Public Health data.

There are an additional 355 suspected cases under review, it said

A total of 1,665 people have died in the country from the disease.

Meanwhile, two Ebola response agents were separately killed in their homes on Saturday in the Mukulia health area, which borders Butembo, the ministry said.

The two agents had received threats since December of 2018 and one of them was attacked a few weeks ago but paid off the assailants.

“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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