Ebola confirmed in DRC city of Goma, Rwanda on alert

The Ebola outbreak in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo has so far killed 1,655 people health ministry said

Since the latest outbreak began in the Democratic Republic of Congo last August, the virus has ravaged the northeastern provinces of North Kivu - where Goma and Butembo are located - and neighboring Ituri.

The health ministry said the pastor, who has not been identified, had preached at seven churches during his evangelical trip to Butembo, one of the towns hardest hit by Ebola in Congo.

Health workers prepare to bury a coffin containing a victim of the Ebola virus on May 16, 2019 in Butembo, a city at the center of the outbreak.

"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 added.

The bus driver and the 18 other passengers will be vaccinated on Monday.

It's the first Ebola case to be confirmed in Goma since the ongoing outbreak began almost a year ago.

"It is important that people keep calm", the country's health minister, Dr. Oly Ilunga Kalenga, said in a statement Sunday night.

Officials with Congo's Health Ministry said Monday that unidentified attackers had killed two Ebola community health workers over the weekend in North Kivu province.

When he arrived back in Goma on Sunday morning, he went to a clinic because he had started to become feverish, the ministry said.

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

Since Aug. 8, more than 161,400 people have been vaccinated against Ebola in the outbreak zone in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, using an experimental vaccine developed by American pharmaceutical company Merck.

The ministry called upon all Rwandans and visitors to Rwanda who develop symptoms of Ebola or have been in contact with a patient with its symptoms or who participated in a burial ceremony of a known case to seek medical attention immediately at the nearest health facility.

The area where the outbreak is taking place is also home to one of Congo's most protracted and violent conflicts - a patchwork of ethnic militias, vigilantes, and government-aligned forces.

In Geneva, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he planned to reconvene the agency's emergency advisory board to assess whether the outbreak should be declared a "public health emergency of global concern" - a move that ramps up worldwide response. Mistrust has been high in a region that had never faced Ebola before and the attacks by rebel groups have undermined aid efforts.

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. A family who fell ill while in Congo did cross the border into neighbouring Uganda where two of them then died.

Combined, the two provinces border Rwanda, Uganda and South Sudan.

It is the second deadliest on record globally, after the epidemic that struck West Africa in 2014-2016, killing more than 11,300 people.

The vaccine appears to have benefits for people who already have been exposed, reducing the fatality rate among those who develope the disease.

The disease spreads when humans touch the blood, body fluids, secretions or organs of an infected person, or objects contaminated by such fluids.



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