The second patient infected with the Ebola virus
in Congo's major city of Goma has died, almost exactly a year after
the start of the epidemic, a health official said Wednesday.
"The patient ... died Wednesday morning because he was already weakened and his illness was discovered late," Jean-Jacques Muyembe, the director of the Institute for Biomedical Research, which is leading Congo's Ebola response, told dpa.
Health authorities started Wednesday a vaccination campaign in Goma in an attempt to contain the spread of the disease, hours after the second case was detected in Goma, a city of about 2 million people which borders Rwanda.
Everyone who has come into contact with the patient will be vaccinated, said Muyembe, adding that there was "no reason to panic." The patient had travelled to Goma from the province of Ituri and developed the first symptoms of the disease on July 22, Congolese authorities said in a statement.
A first case of Ebola was reported in Goma in mid-July, with the patient dying shortly thereafter, leading to the World Health Organization (WHO) declaring the outbreak an international health emergency. Eastern Congo has been at the centre of the second-worst Ebola outbreak in history since August 1, 2018.
But until this month, no major cities had been affected by the epidemic. Rwanda and other neighbouring countries - South Sudan, Uganda and Burundi in particular - are now on high alert. The virus has killed more than 1,700 people, while more than 2,600 people are infected with the disease, which causes a fever and often leads to massive internal bleeding and fatalities, according to the WHO.
"Ultimately, Ebola will continue to spread alongside malaria, measles, cholera [and] polio, as long as the people of the DRC and other countries do not have stronger health systems, access to clean water, roads, education and all the other building blocks of a healthy society," WHO regional director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti told reporters in a telephone briefing.
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