‘Major, major game-changer’: Ebola spreads to big city in Congo
KINSHASA, CONGO—Congo’s Ebola outbreak has spread to a crossroads city of more than 1 million people in a troubling turn that marks the first time the vast, impoverished country has encountered the lethal virus in an urban area.
“This is a major, major game-changer in the outbreak,” Dr. Peter Salama, the World Health Organization’s deputy director-general of emergency preparedness and response, warned on Thursday.
A case of Ebola was confirmed in Mbandaka, a densely populated provincial capital on the Congo River, Congo’s Health Minister Oly Ilunga said late Wednesday.
Medical teams rushed to track down anyone thought to have had contact with infected people, while WHO continued shipping thousands of doses of an experimental vaccine.
A total of 44 cases of Ebola have been reported in Congo in this outbreak: three confirmed, 20 probable and 21 suspected, according to WHO. Twenty-three of those people have died.
A health worker outside an isolation ward to diagnose and treat suspected Ebola patients, at Bikoro Hospital in Bikoro, the rural area where the Ebola outbreak was announced last week, in Congo.