Medicine

Rwanda on high alert as second Ebola case is confirmed in Goma

Rwanda on high alert as second Ebola case is confirmed in Goma

The man died overnight in Goma's Ebola treatment centre after spending a number of days sick at home, said Jean-Jacques Muyembe, who leads Democratic Republic of Congo's response to the epidemic.

This patient had arrived at the treatment center "on the 11th day of his illness, it was really hopeless because the disease was already at a very advanced degree, so he died on the night of Tuesday to Wednesday", said his doctor.

In Goma, the capital of North Kivu province, the mood among many is frustration and despair. "The IRC has been engaging in infection prevention and control in major health centers in Goma, scaling up in the city in an effort to stem the spread of the virus here as we do in other hotspots surrounding Beni and Butembo".

A total of 1,803 lives have been lost in the second-worst outbreak of Ebola on record, according to figures released Wednesday. The organization says the risk of national and regional spread of the outbreak remains "very high".

Muyembe has said there appears to be no link between the case and the one in Goma that was announced 2½ weeks ago. "Rapid response teams have swung into action to prevent further transmission", Ghebreyesus tweeted Wednesday. The nation has almost 2,700 confirmed or probable Ebola cases and more than 1,800 patients have died so far.

Screenings at border crossings have also been reinforced with 24-hour monitoring in place at the local airport.

After his death, the UN's World Health Organization (WHO) declared the epidemic a "public health emergency of worldwide concern", a move created to step up the global response.

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"He was in the community symptomatic for a good period of time, for much longer than we want to see people out there", Harris said.

Early this year, the Ministry of Health launched an Ebola campaign in which health and frontline health workers were immunised against the virus to protect them in case they have to deal with suspected or confirmed Ebola cases. The virus was first identified in 1976 when outbreaks occurred near the Ebola River in the DRC.

World Health Organization (WHO) officials have feared Ebola's arrival in the city for months.

The virus is transmitted through contact with blood or secretions from an infected person, either directly or through contaminated surfaces, needles or medical equipment.

The patient is a 46-year-old man and father of 10 children from Mongbwalu, 70 km from the city of Bunia in Ituri province bordering North Kivu where the Ebola epidemic has also been rife since last year.

"The disease is relentless and devastating", said a joint statement from WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock, UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore, and WFP Executive Director David Beasley.


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