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Ebola Epidemic Claims Second Victim in Congo Border Town

Ebola Epidemic Claims Second Victim in Congo Border Town

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By David E. Hubler
Contributor, EDM Digest

Hopes that the deadly Ebola epidemic in Congo could be contained without spreading into neighboring Rwanda were dashed Wednesday with a second death in Goma, a border town with more than two million residents.

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As a result, Rwanda closed its border with Congo, the Associated Press reported Thursday. The move was confirmed by Rwanda’s state minister for foreign affairs, Olivier Nduhungirehe. But hours later, the border was reopened with reinforced surveillance for signs of the disease.

Ebola Victim Likely Unaware of When He Was Infected

“The man may never have known he had Ebola and was contagious for days before the illness was confirmed,” officials told Time magazine.

“The man in his 40s was a miner returning home from an area of northeastern Ituri province where no Ebola cases in this outbreak have been recorded,” Time added, citing World Health Organization officials.

“He was exposed to Ebola somewhere along the roughly 300-mile-long (490-kilometer) route from Komanda to Goma as he took motor taxis over a number of days through the densely populated region at the heart of the outbreak,” WHO emergencies chief Dr. Michael Ryan explained.

Congo Victim’s Wife and Daughter Tested Positive for Ebola

The victim spent several days at home being nursed by his large family. AP said that the man’s wife and their one-year-old daughter tested positive for the highly contagious disease.

“The little girl is in the hospital, but the virus could be fatal as mortality rates are high in children,” an Ebola coordinator told the German news agency DPA.

Goma’s first Ebola victim was a 46-year-old preacher from Butembo, who died last month despite having passed through three health checkpoints on his way to Goma, according to Time magazine. Butembo is one of the communities hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak, now entering its second year.

“We’re seeing the first active transmission chain in Goma and expect more to come,” Andre Heller, the International Rescue Committee’s Ebola response director, warned in a statement reported by AP. “The painstaking work of finding, tracking and vaccinating people who had contact with the man — and the contacts of those contacts — has begun,” he added.

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The Ebola epidemic has killed more than 1,800 people, nearly a third of them children. It is now the second-deadliest Ebola outbreak in history. Last month, the World Health Organization declared it a rare global emergency.

David Hubler David E. Hubler brings a variety of government, journalism and teaching experience to his position as a Quality Assurance Editor at APUS. David’s professional background includes serving as a senior editor at CIA and the Voice of America. He has also been a managing editor for several business-to-business and business-to-government publishing companies. David has taught high school English in Connecticut and at Northern Virginia Community College. He has a master’s degree for Teachers of English from the University of New Hampshire and a B.A. in English from New York University. In March 2017, Rowman & Littlefield published the paperback edition of David’s latest book, "The Nats and the Grays, How Baseball in the Nation's Capital Survived WWII and Changed the Game Forever."