Ebola in DR Congo: Case confirmed in Goma2 min read

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A medical worker wears Ebola protection gear

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Reuters

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The Ebola virus has spread to the city of Goma which has a population of more than a million people

The Democratic Republic of Congo has confirmed the first case of Ebola in the eastern city of Goma, home to more than a million people.

The health ministry confirmed that a pastor tested positive for the virus in a centre in Goma after arriving there by bus on Sunday.

The ministry says that risk of the disease spreading is low.

More than 1,600 people have died since the Ebola outbreak began in eastern DR Congo a year ago.

The pastor travelled 200 km (125 miles) to Goma by bus from Butembo, where he had been with people with Ebola.

The health ministry said in a statement: “Due to the speed with which the patient has been identified and isolated, as well as the identification of all passengers from Butembo, the risk of spreading to the rest of the city of Goma remains low.”

It said that the bus driver and 18 other passengers would be vaccinated on Monday.

Goma’s health ministry has been preparing for an outbreak. In November last year, it launched preparation and response activities. Three thousand health workers in the city have already been vaccinated.

The largest outbreak of Ebola was in West Africa in 2014-16 and affected 28,616 people mainly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. About 11,310 people died.

Ebola infects humans through close contact with infected animals, including chimpanzees, fruit bats and forest antelope.

It can then spread rapidly, through contact with even small amounts of bodily fluid of those infected – or indirectly through contact with contaminated environments.

What is Ebola?

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  • Ebola is a virus that initially causes sudden fever, intense weakness, muscle pain and a sore throat
  • It progresses to vomiting, diarrhoea and both internal and external bleeding
  • People are infected when they have direct contact through broken skin, or the mouth and nose, with the blood, vomit, faeces or bodily fluids of someone with Ebola
  • Patients tend to die from dehydration and multiple organ failure

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