WHO says no new Ebola cases in Goma, vaccinates over 1,300

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A health worker injects a man with Ebola vaccine in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, August 5, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner/File Photo

GOMA (Reuters) – The World Health Organisation said it has vaccinated over 1,300 people who potentially came into contact with the Ebola virus in the Congolese city of Goma, helping contain what many feared would be a rapid spread in an urban centre.

A year-long Ebola outbreak in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo has killed at least 1,800, the second biggest toll ever, and efforts to contain the virus have been hobbled by militia violence and some local resistance to outside interference.

Goma, a lakeside city of nearly 2 million people on the Rwandan border, has been on high alert over the past week after a gold miner with a large family contaminated several people before dying himself. [nL8N24Y2DR][nL8N2526G7]

“Ongoing vaccination activities have reached the majority (98%) of eligible contacts, and 1,314 contacts, contacts of contacts and frontline workers (have been) vaccinated to date,” the WHO said in a statement last week

No new confirmed cases had been reported in Goma since the WHO’s previous report on Aug. 2.

The use of an experimental Ebola vaccine, developed by Merck, has proven to be a key weapon against the hemorrhagic fever, although reaching contacts in rural areas beset by violence has proven difficult.

The vaccine’s success has been most obvious in cities where contacts can be easier to trace, helping avoid the widespread havoc seen in densely populated areas during a 2013-2016 outbreak in West Africa that killed over 11,000 people.

Reporting By Fiston Mahamba; Writing by Edward McAllister; Editing by Keith Weir and Jan Harvey

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Godwin Okafor is a Financial Journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Naija247news Media Limited. He has over 16 years experience in financial journalism. His experience cuts across traditional and digital media. He started his journalism career at Business Day, Nigeria and founded Naija247news Media in 2010. Godwin holds a Bachelors degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos. He is an alumni of Lagos Business School and a Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton Seminar for Business Journalists). Over the years, he has won a number of journalism awards. Godwin is the chairman of Emmerich Resources Limited, the publisher of Naija247news.

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