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Africa

Second Ebola victim dies in Goma, eastern DR Congo

media Health workers clean their clothes at an Ebola centre in Goma, 18 July 2019 Djaffer Sabiti/Reuters

A second person has died of the Ebola virus in Goma, in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The first death on 16 July sparked a wave of concern, as the city of two million is a major transport hub.

"A patient who was confirmed with Ebola in Goma has died. Every measure has been taken to block the chain of transmission," said Jean-Jacques Muyembe, in charge of coordinating the fight against the year-old outbreak.

The victim, who arrived in Goma on 13 July frm a mining area in northeastern Ituri province, appears to have no link with the previous victim, who was described as a preacher who had travelled from Goma to Butembo, one of the towns hardest hit by the outbreak.

It is not immediately clear how the second victim arrived in Goma, or what he did after he started showing symptoms on 22 July. He was isolated at an Ebola treatment center on Tuesday.

"His was really a hopeless case, because the illness was already at an advanced stage and he died overnight Tuesday,” said Aruna Abedi, in charge of coordinating the Ebola response in North Kivu.

Abedi urged the public to respond swiftly to symptoms of Ebola and "not hide suspect cases".

Health experts fear outbreaks in major cities, where population density and mobility make it more difficult to isolate patients and trace contacts than in rural areas.

Goma is a border city located on the northern shore of Lake Kivu, adjacent to Rwanda. It has a port that links to Bukavu and South Kivu province and an airport with flights to the capital, Kinshasa, as well as internationally, to Uganda and Ethiopia.

According to figures published Wednesday, 1,803 people have died since the Ebola was recorded in eastern DRC on 1 August last year.

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