The first case of Ebola to reach the city of Goma – involving a pastor on a missionary trip that took him through several cities – was reported on Sunday in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The patient, a 46-year-old man, traveled between Bukavu and Butembo on July 4 through the city, said the Congolese Ministry of Health in a statement. His first symptoms came on July 9 while he was in Butembo but he then boarded a bus for Goma three days later with a driver and 18 other passengers.
All of them have been identified and are receiving care, the ministry said. The patient is in care in Goma, where the Congolese ministry says some 3,000 health workers in the city have trained to deal with the situation.
Goma is a major travel hub with at least a million residents, and the emergence of Ebola in Goma has long been both feared and well-anticipated.
“While not welcome news, it is something we have long anticipated,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization. “We have been doing intensive work to prepare Goma so that any case is identified and responded to immediately.”
Yet the development does not reflect progress in what is the world’s second-largest Ebola outbreak, as it presses into what is now a full year and as the death toll grew to 1,665.
The news also comes just hours ahead of a high-level meeting in Geneva, called to discuss what to do about the next phase of the Ebola response.
Image: WHO DRC file photo