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Pastor confirmed with Ebola as disease spreads in DR Congo

18 July 2019

Congo's health ministry announced that the first Ebola case in Goma, North-Kivu Province had been confirmed on Sunday involving a pastor who interacted with Ebola patients in the northeastern town of Butembo.

1, 2018. Among those cases, 2,395 have tested positive for Ebola virus disease, which causes an often-fatal type of hemorrhagic fever, according to the latest bulletin from the country's health ministry.

Now health authorities along his route are trying to hunt down all those he may have been in contact with after the man became Goma's first confirmed Ebola case on Sunday.

"The patient, who travelled from Butembo to Goma, was safely isolated and provided with medical care since his arrival to the center".

While in Butembo, the pastor held regular services in seven churches, during which he laid his hands on worshippers, including people who were ill, the health ministry said.

Violent attacks against health workers and treatment facilities have greatly compromised efforts to combat the epidemic in Butembo.

World Health Organization emergencies chief Mike Ryan said they had identified 60 contacts, including 18 who were on the bus with the priest, and half of them have been vaccinated.

Ebola infects folk via terminate contact with contaminated animals, together with chimpanzees, fruit bats and wooded space antelope.

U.S. Charge d'Affaires Mark Cassayre also told a U.N. conference on Ebola Monday that the United States is calling on member states to increase their contributions to the response, which the World Health Organization says is underfunded. Health experts have long feared that it could make its way to Goma, which is located on the Rwandan border.

Unlike the 2014 outbreak in West Africa that killed more than 11,000 people, there are now vaccines and experimental treatments for Ebola. WHO's Dr. Michael Ryan, who is directing the agency's Ebola response, said the meeting would be held this week.

Symptoms appeared July 9 and he left for Goma on Friday, the ministry said.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organisation (WHO), spoke at a "high-level event" in the DRC on Monday, attended by health minister Dr Oly Ilunga and the UK's global development secretary Rory Stewart.

And 160,239 people have been vaccinated, it added.

He said: "Although the risk of spread within DRC and in the region remains very high, we should not underestimate the magnitude of what has been achieved so far".

"We are dealing with one of the world's most risky viruses in the one of the world's most unsafe areas", Ghebreyesus said.

Pastor confirmed with Ebola as disease spreads in DR Congo