First Ebola patient has died in DR Congo city - governor

2019-07-16 14:23
Health workers stand at a non-gazetted crossing point in the Mirami village, near the Mpondwe border check point between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. (Isaac Kasamani, AFP)

Health workers stand at a non-gazetted crossing point in the Mirami village, near the Mpondwe border check point between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. (Isaac Kasamani, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

The first patient to be diagnosed with Ebola in the eastern DR Congo city of Goma has died, the governor of North Kivu province said on Tuesday.

The case - the first in a major urban hub in the region's nearly year-old epidemic of the disease - has sparked deep concern in neighbouring Rwanda and at the UN.

"Unfortunately, I can confirm that the patient died," Governor Carly Nzanzu told reporters.

The patient has been described as an evangelical preacher who had travelled from Goma to Butembo, one of the towns hardest hit by the outbreak.

While there, he preached at seven churches and regularly touched worshippers, including the sick, before taking the bus back to Goma last Friday, the health ministry said.

On his return on Sunday, he went to a clinic with a fever, was diagnosed with Ebola and sent back to Butembo, which is better geared than Goma for treating the disease, it said.

"He died during transfer by road," Nzanzu said.

More than 1 600 people have died from Ebola since August 1, when the haemorrhagic virus erupted in North Kivu and spread to neighbouring Ituri.

Health experts fear outbreaks of contagious disease in a major city

In cities, density of population, high mobility and anonymity make it far harder to isolate patients and trace contacts compared to the countryside.

Goma is a border city of about one million people located on the northern shore of Lake Kivu, adjacent to Rwanda.

It has a port that links to Bukavu and South Kivu province and an airport with flights to Kinshasa, the Ugandan capital Entebbe and Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia.

The city abuts the Rwandan city of Gisenyi, and there is a high number of daily border crossings, involving workers and people who have jobs or homes on the other side of the frontier.

The UN's World Health Organisation (WHO) on Monday warned the Goma case was a "potential game-changer" in the fight to roll back the outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

It said it would reconvene a key panel to see whether the outbreak required a heightened global response.

Separately, Rwanda said on Monday it would step up border monitoring and urged its citizens to avoid "unnecessary" travel to the eastern DRC.

The latest epidemic is the second deadliest on record globally. The worst Ebola outbreak, striking three West African countries between 2014-2016, claimed more than 11 300 lives.

GET THE NEWS at your fingertips and download the News24 app for Android here now. Get it for your iPhone here.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

Read more on:    congo  |  diseases  |  central africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.