Ebola crisis: Second death confirmed in DR Congo border city of Goma

A second person has died of Ebola on the Democratic Republic of Congo’s border with Rwanda, raising fears the deadly illness could spread.

The artisanal miner died on Wednesday morning in the city of Goma, home to two million people, authorities said.

More than 1,600 people have died of Ebola in DR Congo since the outbreak began in August 2018 but those have been in more remote areas.

The World Health Organization called it a global health emergency last week.

It is the highest level of alarm the WHO can sound and has only been used four times previously – including the Ebola epidemic that devastated parts of West Africa from 2014 to 2016, and killed more than 11,000 people.

The latest victim came from the north-eastern province of Ituri but fell ill and was admitted to a health centre in Kiziba, on the outskirts of Goma, on 13 July.

He later developed symptoms of bleeding and bruising, and tested positive to Ebola on Tuesday.

He died on Wednesday morning.

Ebola is affecting two provinces of DR Congo – North Kivu and Ituri. Goma is the capital of North Kivu and lies just across the border from the Rwandan city of Gisenyi.

Until now, the virus has been mostly contained to more remote areas, mostly around Beni and Butembo, to the north of Goma.

A priest in Goma died from Ebola earlier this month. The WHO called it a “game-changer”, but until now there had not been any further confirmed cases in the city.

Goma is a transport hub so the latest death is of particular concern, as it is far harder to isolate patients and trace contacts in major cities, where highly mobile, large populations are living in close proximity.

There are fears the illness could spread into Rwanda as people travel between Goma and Gisenyi every day.

Although Rwanda has not yet had any confirmed cases, it has set up an Ebola treatment centre and is preparing 23 isolation centres in case of any infections.


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