Rwanda closes border with Congo over deadly Ebola outbreak

Ebola outbreak causes Rwanda to close border with Congo

Ebola outbreak causes Rwanda to close border with Congo

Rwanda has closed its border with Democratic Republic of Congo, a week after it had announced it would not do so, following confirmation of a third case of Ebola in the nearby city of Goma.

Rwandan health minister Diane Gashumba said there had been traffic slowdowns at the border, caused by increased health screening in response to confirmation of new infections in Goma, a transit hub of at least 1 million people.

The closure came after a second death linked to the Ebola virus was confirmed on Wednesday in the densely populated Congolese city of Goma, which is on the porous border with Rwanda.

Rwanda, which has been commended by the Word Health Organisation (WHO) on its Ebola preparedness efforts, has been on a high alert since the first case of Ebola outbreak was reported in Goma last month.

October 17: After an emergency expert meeting, the World Health Organization says it is "deeply concerned" but the outbreak is not a global emergency.

Health experts fear outbreaks of contagious diseases in major cities.

The man in his 40s was a miner returning from an area of northeastern Ituri province, Mongwalu, where no Ebola cases in this outbreak have been recorded, World Health Organization said. In June, three people who crossed on an unguarded footpath into Uganda died there before their family members were taken back to Congo for treatment.

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The population in Goma, he said, is highly mobile: "So this is an event we have anticipated". He arrived on July 13 from a mining area in northeastern Congo's Ituri province and started showing symptoms on July 22. That patient was a pastor who had left South Kivu to evangelize in Butembo, a center of the current Ebola outbreak. The World Health Organization has declared the Ebola outbreak an global emergency.

While the alert prompted a surge of millions of dollars in new pledges by worldwide donors, health workers say a new approach is desperately needed to combat misunderstandings in the community that lead people with Ebola not to seek medical help.

Over 5000 health workers have been vaccinated against Ebola in Goma, DRC.

Health workers responding to the outbreak have been attacked, even killed, in a region where rebel groups are active and the population is wary of outsiders.

The virus spreads between humans through direct contact with an infected person's bodily fluids, including infected blood, feces or vomit, or direct contact with contaminated objects, such as needles and syringes.

The outbreak has killed more than 1,800 people so far, making it the second-deadliest Ebola emergency in history.

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