Date: Sat, 3 Aug 2019 19:27:40 +0200 (METDST)

Goma, DR Congo, Aug 3, 2019 (AFP) - Twelve people were ordered to undergo testing for possible Ebola infection in Goma in DR Congo on Saturday, only days after three patients in the densely populated city tested positive for the disease, the country's presidency said.   "A total of 12 people from various centres on the outskirts (of Goma) are undergoing testing after the response team triggered the alert protocol," it said in a statement.

Six others suspected of carrying the virus were discharged after testing negative on Friday, the presidency added.   A one-year-old girl became the third patient to test positive for Ebola in Goma, local officials said Wednesday.   She is the daughter of the second patient, a gold miner, who died earlier in the week.   His wife, also infected, and the young girl were in stable condition on Saturday, the presidency said.   Goma is the capital of North Kivu province, which has borne the brunt of the year-old epidemic that has claimed more than 1,800 lives.

Meanwhile two vehicles carrying members of a team fighting Ebola were shot at on the road between Beni and Butembo, two North Kivu towns that have also suffered badly from the outbreak.   "Happily no one was injured," police colonel Richard Mbambi told AFP.   Violence against medical staff in the affected provinces where various militias operate has been one reason authorities have struggled to battle the epidemic.   Other countries in the region fear the virus could spread from DRC to their territories.   Mozambique on Saturday set up disease checkpoints along its border with Malawi as a precaution, and officials said Rwanda on Thursday briefly shut its border with DRC.

The Ebola virus causes fever, vomiting and severe diarrhoea, often followed by kidney and liver failure, internal and external bleeding.   The disease is spread by contact with infected body fluids and is fought by tracing contacts and quarantining them.    There is no medical cure for Ebola, although an unlicensed but tested vaccine has been widely deployed to help protect frontline workers.   The latest epidemic is the second deadliest on record after more than 11,000 people were killed in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia between 2014 and 2016.
Date: Thu, 1 Aug 2019 00:52:30 +0200 (METDST)

Goma, DR Congo, July 31, 2019 (AFP) - A one-year-old girl became the third patient to test positive for Ebola in the densely populated DR Congo city of Goma, local officials said Wednesday, adding that she was the daughter of the second patient who died earlier in the week.   "I have been informed of another confirmed Ebola case at the Goma Ebola treatment centre," said Aruna Abedi, the chief Ebola coordinator in North Kivu, the worst-hit province since the outbreak began on August 1 last year.   "Vaccination has started at the Kiziba health centre to cut the chain of contamination. Medical staff and those who had contact with the patient, and those who had contact with them, have been prioritised," Abedi told AFP.

The latest diagnosis is just the latest sign that the outbreak is sharply widening, and came just hours after the announcement that the second patient had died overnight Tuesday.    "The third confirmed case is the one-year-old girl of the father of 10 who died today at the Kiziba centre. The girl had already been showing signs of the disease," an Ebola response official told AFP on condition of anonymity.   The first death from Ebola in Goma -- a city of more than two million people on the border with Rwanda with transport links to many parts of East Africa -- sparked a wave of concern when it was reported on July 16.

A day later, the UN's World Health Organization (WHO) declared the epidemic a "public health emergency of international concern", a move designed to step up the global response.    Also on Wednesday, it was announced that 15 people had been quarantined in the neighbouring South Kivu province, which had previously skirted the epidemic.   A total of 1,803 lives have been lost in the second worst outbreak of Ebola on record, according to figures released Wednesday.
- Thu 1 Aug 2019. Goma: more deaths
[ABC News, Associated Press (AP report), abridged, edited]
<https://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/suspected-ebola-case-congo-contact-2nd-goma-case-64702134> [Byline: Saleh Mwanamilongo, Ignatius Ssuuna]

The wife and 1-year-old daughter of the man who died of Ebola in Congo's major city of Goma this week has the disease, the health ministry said [Thu 1 Aug 2019], while Rwanda closed its border with Congo over the virus outbreak that now enters its 2nd year.

The man died on [Wed 31 Jul 2019] after spending several days at home with his large family while showing symptoms. This is the 1st transmission of Ebola inside Goma, a city of more than 2 million people on the Rwandan border, a scenario that health experts have long feared. The painstaking work of finding, tracking, and vaccinating people who had contact with the man -- and the contacts of those contacts -- has begun.  "We're seeing the 1st active transmission chain in Goma and expect more to come," the International Rescue Committee's Ebola response director, Andre Heller, warned in a statement.

Rwanda's state minister for foreign affairs Olivier Nduhungirehe confirmed the border closure, a day after WHO officials praised African nations for keeping their borders open. Last week [week of22 Jul 2019] Saudi Arabia stopped issuing visas to people from Congo while citing the Ebola outbreak, shortly before the annual hajj pilgrimage there this month [August 2019].

Congo's presidency swiftly condemned Rwanda's decision, and local Congolese at the busy border expressed frustration. Several hours later Congo's presidency said the border had reopened. A Rwanda health ministry statement called the events a "traffic slowdown" as surveillance for Ebola was reinforced. The ministry advised against unnecessary travel to the Goma area.

WHO has recommended against travel restrictions amid the outbreak but says the risk of regional spread is "very high." Rwanda, Uganda, and South Sudan have long begun vaccinating health workers. In June 2019, 3 people died in Uganda before their family members were taken back to Congo for treatment and Ugandan officials declared the country free of the disease.

The death on [Wed 31 Jul 2019] in Goma "in such a dense population center underscores the very real risk of further disease transmission, perhaps beyond the country's borders, and the very urgent need" for more global support, United Nations agencies said in a joint statement marking a year of the outbreak.
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[Rwanda's border apparently was only closed briefly. The Ministry of Health of Rwanda confirmed in a statement Thu afternoon [1 Aug 2019] that the border with the DRC was open, "following traffic slow-down this morning" when measures were put in place to reinforce screening practices.  Advising against any unnecessary travel to Goma because of the increase in Ebola cases, the Ministry said, "Rwanda remains Ebola free."  (<https://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/ny-rwanda-close-border-congo-fear-ebola-20190801-o4vborb3sjejvgpxdj7i3vedbm-story.html>). - ProMED Mod.LK]

- Thu 1 Aug. Goma: 4th case
[7Sur7.CD; in French, machine trans., edited]
<https://7sur7.cd/2019/08/01/urgent-un-quatrieme-cas-debola-confirme-goma>

A 4th case of Ebola virus disease has been confirmed in Goma City on Thu 1 Aug 2019. The information was confirmed to 7SUR7.CD by a source within the World Health Organization (WHO).

In the space of 3 days, 3 cases (from the same family, editor's note) were confirmed in this city of more than one million inhabitants which had already recorded its 1st case on 14 Jul 2019.

The 1st 2 patients have not survived and according to the information in our possession, the 3rd case who was a child of 1 year also died, while this 4th case was detected this [Thu 1 Aug 2019] is already at the Goma ETC.  [Byline: Glody Murhabazi]
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[The increasing number of cases is not unexpected, but even so, very sad. The family of the index case includes 10 children, most of whom likely had close contact with their father when he was being treated at home during his illness. - ProMED Med.LK]
Date: Wed, 31 Jul 2019 18:41:29 +0200 (METDST)

Bukavu, DR Congo, July 31, 2019 (AFP) - Doctors in South Kivu, a province that had previously skirted the Ebola epidemic in eastern DR Congo, have quarantined 15 people over fears of infection by the deadly virus, local authorities said.   "We have just quarantined 15 people here in Birava -- a mum and her six children who came from Goma as well as other members of her family who had come to meet them," said the senior administrative official for Birava, Christian Birhinjira.    More than 1,800 people have died since the first cases of Ebola in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo were reported on August 1 last year in the province of North Kivu, followed by cases in neighbouring Ituri province.
Date: Wed, 31 Jul 2019 15:44:45 +0200 (METDST)

Goma, DR Congo, July 31, 2019 (AFP) - A second person has died of Ebola in the eastern DR Congo city of Goma, the country's pointman for the epidemic told AFP on Wednesday, heightening fears the disease could spread through the densely populated transport hub.   The latest death from the dreaded haemorrhagic virus was announced almost a year since the first cases of the outbreak were recorded on August 1 last year.

Since then the virus death toll has risen to 1,803, according to figures published on Wednesday.   "A patient who was confirmed with Ebola in Goma has died. Every measure has been taken to block the chain of transmission," said Jean-Jacques Muyembe, in charge of coordinating the fight against the outbreak.   Goma, a lakeside city of more than two million people close to the Rwanda border, had already brought in infection prevention and control measures in anticipation of the arrival of the virus.

The city has an airport with flights to the capital Kinshasa, Uganda's Entebbe and Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, as well as a port that links to Bukavu and South Kivu province.   Aruna Abedi, in charge of coordinating the Ebola response in North Kivu, the worst-hit province, said the second patient to die from Ebola in Goma had arrived at a treatment centre "11 days after falling ill".   "His was really a hopeless case, because the illness was already at an advanced stage and he died overnight Tuesday."   Abedi urged the public to respond swiftly to symptoms of Ebola and "not hide suspect cases".   "The treatment centre is not a dying room -- you have to bring the patient in early," he said.

- Public health emergency -
The first death from Ebola in Goma, reported on July 16, sparked a wave of concern.   In that case, a man described as an evangelical preacher 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 returning to Goma.   After his death, the UN's World Health Organization (WHO) declared the epidemic a "public health emergency of international concern", a move designed to step up the global response.

The WHO has since said a shortage in funding was finally being filled after several countries renewed pledges of financial aid.   The World Bank also announced this month it would deploy a further $300 million (269 million euros) in addition to $100 million already provided.   In Goma, the capital of North Kivu province, the mood among many is frustration and despair.   "We are carrying out the guidelines, we respect the rules (about daily handwashing and checking temperatures), but what we want is for this epidemic to end quickly," said Jonas Shukuru, a motorcycle taxi boss.   "The government has to make tackling it a priority."

- 'Risks are high -
Fears are high that the highly contagious virus will cross the Democratic Republic of Congo's porous borders.   "Economic and human exchanges are very intense," the Central African Republic's health minister, Pierre Somse, warned last week.   "Our livestock farmers sell their cattle in DR Congo. Rebel groups and poachers go back and forth across the border. The risks are high."

As DR Congo battles to contain the virus, the country's health minister Oly Ilunga quit this month in protest over the government's response to the outbreak, which saw President Felix Tshisekedi take over the reins.   One key element will be the protection of doctors and nurses trying to contain the virus.    Attacks on health workers have had a devastating effect, with seven murdered and more than 50 seriously hurt, according to an unofficial tally.     The DR Congo Ebola epidemic is the deadliest outbreak since more than 11,000 people were killed in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia between 2014-2016.
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