The 1-year-old daughter and the wife of the man who died of Ebola in Congo's city of Goma this week have tested positive for the disease, health officials confirmed Thursday, while Rwanda briefly closed its border with Congo over the virus outbreak that now enters its second year.
The Congolese presidency in a statement Thursday said Rwanda's stance was a "unilateral decision" that affected citizens from both countries who had to cross the border as part of their daily life.
All of them are members of the same family and had recently returned from the provincial capital city of Goma, where a man died from Ebola on Wednesday. "This is why we have been doing intensive preparedness work in Goma so that any new case is identified and responded to immediately", Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO's director general, said on Twitter. Days after the first Goma case was announced, the World Health Organization declared the Ebola outbreak a rare global emergency.
In a statement yesterday, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the risk of the spread of the epidemic is high.
Health experts fear outbreaks of contagious diseases in major cities.
If this suspected case is confirmed, it could be the first transmission of Ebola in this outbreak inside Goma, a city of more than two million people.
The miner came from the north-eastern province of Ituri and had been admitted to a health centre in Kiziba, on the outskirts of Goma, on 13 July. That patient was a pastor who had left South Kivu to evangelize in Butembo, a center of the current Ebola outbreak. Symptoms such as fever can be confused with malaria, which is endemic in the region.
August 1: Congo officials say the victim's wife and 1-year-old daughter test positive for Ebola, the first transmission of the virus in Goma.
Over a week ago, WHO called the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), urging the international community to step up its support.
June 4: The outbreak surpasses 2,000 confirmed Ebola cases.
There is no licensed treatment for Ebola, which is spread by close contact with bodily fluids of those infected, and survival can depend on seeking treatment as quickly as possible.
This has become the second-deadliest Ebola outbreak in history, with more than 1,700 people killed despite the widespread use of an experimental but effective Ebola vaccine.