This time the first case of Ebola has been confirmed in Goma, in eastern DR Congo last August, the health ministry said on Sunday. “The patient is a pastor who would have touched the hands of worshippers including the sick”, the ministry said in a statement.
“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,” the ministry said.
The pastor was travelling on a bus, on his way back. Thus the other 18 passengers and the driver will begin getting vaccinations on Monday, it added.
Health workers in Goma were vaccinated as early as December.
“The latest Ebola outbreak in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo has so far killed 1,655 people and 694 have been cured, And 160,239 people have been vaccinated” according to a health ministry bulletin on Saturday.
The World Health Organisation had initially voiced hope it would be able to contain the highly contagious haemorrhagic fever, thanks in part to the new vaccine.
But efforts to tackle the crisis have been hampered both by militia attacks on treatment centres, in which some staff have been killed and by the hostility of some local people to the medical teams.
Insecurity in the region, including a long-standing presence of various rebel groups in Ituri and North Kivu, has also made it difficult for health workers to access those who might have come into contact with Ebola.
The disease spreads among humans through close contact with the blood, body fluids, secretions or organs of an infected person, or objects contaminated by such fluids.