Pastor confirmed with Ebola as disease spreads in eastern DR Congo

Vastavam web: The first case of Ebola has been confirmed in Goma, the biggest city to have been affected by the disease since its outbreak in eastern DR Congo last August, the health ministry said on Sunday. The patient is a pastor who had been preaching in church and would have touched the hands of worshippers “including the sick”, the ministry said in a statement. His symptoms first appeared last Tuesday in Butembo, one of the main towns touched by Ebola where he had been preaching.

He left by bus on Friday to Goma, the capital of North Kivu province, arriving early Sunday where “the results of the laboratory test confirmed that he was positive for Ebola”, the ministry said. “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 other 18 passengers and the driver will begin getting vaccinations on Monday, it added. Health workers in Goma were vaccinated as early as December when the outbreak first hit Butembo some 300km further north. The two towns are separated by poor roads under the threat of armed groups. The latest Ebola outbreak in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo has so far killed 1,655 people and 694 have been cured, according to a health ministry bulletin on Saturday.