KINSASA, Democratic Republic of the Congo (AP) — The wife and 1-year-old daughter of a man who died of Ebola this week in the Democratic Republic of Congo city of Goma are now suffering from the disease, authorities confirmed Thursday. It is the first transmission of the virus into the densely populated border town with Rwanda, a situation long feared by health experts.
Rwanda briefly closed its border with Congo in the city of more than 2 million people as the painstaking task of finding, registering and vaccinating the people who came into contact with the man, and the contacts of those contacts, began. HELP US Click the Google News star and follow usThe man died Wednesday after spending several days at home with his large family while presenting symptoms. Congo’s presidency said the whole family was at «high risk» and quarantined. Ebola coordinator in North Kivu province, Dr. Aruna Abedi, confirmed the wife’s contagion to The Associated Press hours after confirming the girl’s infection.» We witnessed the first active transmission chain in Goma and forecast there will be more,» the International Rescue Committee’s Ebola Response Director Andre Heller warned in a statement. Children. It is now the second deadliest in history and the World Health Organization took the unusual step of declaring it last month a global emergency. Rwandan State Minister for Foreign Affairs Olivier Nduhungirehe confirmed the closure of borders, a day after WHO praised African countries for keeping their borders open. Last week, shortly before the haj pilgrimage began, Saudi Arabia alluded to the Ebola outbreak by stopping giving visas to people in the Congo.La Congo presidency condened Rwanda’s decision, and Congolese on the busy border expressed frustration. «I can’t understand why they don’t test us instead of closing these borders,» said Angel Murhula, who works in Rwanda. Several hours later, Congo’s presidency said it reopened the border. A statement from Rwanda’s health ministry said it was a «decrease in traffic» as Ebola surveillance was strengthened. The ministry advised avoiding unnecessary travel to the area of Goma.La WHO has discouraged travel restrictions, although it considers the risk of the disease spreading in the region «very high.» Any border closure tends to divert people from official crossings equipped with hand-washing stations and where people are often checked for fever or other Ebola symptoms. In June, three people who crossed an unguarded crossing died in Uganda before their relatives were transferred back to Congolese territory for treatment.