Congo races to contain Ebola after gold miner contaminates several in Goma

Rwanda closes part of its border with the Democratic Republic of Congo “to avoid unnecessary crossings.” REUTERS

Rwanda closes part of its border with the Democratic Republic of Congo “to avoid unnecessary crossings.” REUTERS

According to the United Nations, in the previous year, there have been more than 2,600 confirmed cases of Ebola, including more than 1,800 deaths in parts of Ituri and North Kivu provinces.

The miner, who died on Wednesday, was the second Ebola fatality in Goma, the capital of North Kivu province that is the epicentre of the outbreak.

It went on to stress the need for Governments and civil society in affected and at-risk countries to work urgently with partners to improve their preparedness to prevent, detect and respond to possible cases, as well as to implement optimal vaccine strategies that have maximum impact in curtailing the outbreak.

A family of 15 were this week quarantined in the town of Birava, South Kivu, 333miles (536km) south of Beni.

Noting "the challenging operating environment", the Council reiterated its appreciation for the efforts of the Government, the World Health Organization (WHO) and other UN agencies, the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO), the African Union, humanitarian organizations, global donors and all supporting the response to contain the disease and treat Ebola patients.

A healthcare member inoculates a man for Ebola suspicion to take precautions against the disease in Butembo, Democratic Republic of the Congo on July 27, 2019.

Ebola causes haemorrhagic fever, vomiting and severe diarrhoea, often followed by kidney and liver failure and internal and external bleeding.

The Janssen Ebola virus vaccine candidate is also in a phase 2 study to evaluate the safety, reactogenicity, and immunogenicity of a heterologous 2-dose vaccination regimen using Ad26.ZEBOV and MVA-BN-Filo in infants aged 4-11 months in Guinea and Sierra Leone.

But public mistrust and rampant insecurity in parts of east Congo have hampered the response.

Muyembe has said there appears to be no link between the case and the previous one in Goma that was announced two and a half weeks ago.

A spokesman for Congo's Ebola response team, Giscard Kusema, said in Goma that of the 300 primary and secondary contacts of the miner so far identified, 240 had been vaccinated. Ebola symptoms can start to occur between two and 21 days from infection, health experts say. "If you show up for treatment early the chances of survival are relatively good".

Confusion surrounds Thursday's events after an anonymous official confirmed yesterday that the border had been closed, but the country's health minister later said "the border was never closed".

"The border has been reopened and people can move in both directions", the statement said. "When you close borders. two things happen: first you get panic, people see this as a signal to start panicking", Harris told reporters in Geneva.

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