Ebola outbreak spreads to big Congo city
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 single 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. The city is about 93 miles from Bikoro, the rural area where the outbreak was announced last week.
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.