A second case of Ebola has been confirmed in the Congolese city of Goma near the Rwandan border, raising fears the illness could spread further in the region.
“Sad news coming from Goma, DRC – the second Ebola case has been confirmed,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO).
Tedros said there wasn’t any “indication at the moment that this person is linked to the first case identified in this city on 14 July.”
He said rapid response teams have swung into action to prevent further transmission.
The capital of North Kivu province in the eastern part of DRC, Goma is located on the northern shore of Lake Kivu, next to the Rwandan city of Gisenyi.
Ebola has in recent years wreaked havoc in DRC, killing hundreds of people.
According to WHO, a total of 2671 cases (2577 confirmed and 94 probable), including 1,790 deaths have been registered.
Tedros on Wednesday warned that the “risk” of national Ebola spread is “high.”
He said the population in Goma, “is highly mobile, so this is an event we have anticipated. This is why we have been doing intensive preparedness work in Goma so that any new case is identified and responded to immediately.”
WHO said over 5,000 health workers have been vaccinated against Ebola in Goma.
“Health centres have been provided with training and equipment to improve infection prevention and control,” said Tedros, adding, “Screenings at border crossings have been reinforced and 24 hour monitoring implemented at the airport.”
Goma is the tourist capital of the African Congo and is close to a number of tourist sites, including the Virunga National Park, declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979 and home to the endangered mountain gorillas.