JOHANNESBURG – There are fears that the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) may be spreading beyond its borders after another death was reported in the country.
The latest death comes as an expert panel from the World Health Organisation (WHO) weighs whether or not to announce an international emergency.
WHO reported that a Congolese woman recently died after returning to the DRC from Uganda, where she had fallen sick. She had crossed into Uganda to sell fish before returning home.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO head, warned that the woman’s death, in addition to an earlier case involving a priest who died in Goma in the eastern DRC, was a potential game changer as Ebola could now spread into neighbouring Rwanda.
Furthermore, there are possibly another 19 fishmongers who were in contact with the ill woman before she died, may also be infected.
The current outbreak of Ebola which has largely affected the DRC for the most part has left 1,676 people dead - two thirds of those infected with the deadly virus.
In the fight to eradicate the disease health workers are carrying out vaccination sand trying to track down others who may be infected.
However, continuing insecurity in the DRC aggravated by several armed militias and numerous attacks on health centres and aid workers has limited the ability to fight the virus.
Over 11,300 people were killed in an Ebola epidemic in West Africa between 2013 and 2016.
- African News Agency (ANA); Editing by Moses Mudzwiti