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Ebola Epidemic in East Congo’s Prime City Tests Flexibility for Reply

Deo Bakulu has been washing his hands since Ebola entered eastern Democratic Republic of Congo’s main metropolis of Goma in July.

However, the washing station arranged by local authorities near his house is only open from 8 to 18 from Monday through Saturday, and he doesn’t have running water.

Goma, a city of around 2 million people, is on high alert after the first transmission of the virus within it was confirmed last week. That heightened fears the outbreak could unfold within the densely-populated metropolis and beyond through its border with Rwanda and the international airport.

A gold miner carried the virus from the epicenter of the epidemic, which is some hundred kilometers to the north. He spent a week at home sick with his spouse and ten kids before being transferred to hospital, where he died the subsequent day. His wife and daughter then tested positive for the illness.

Goma has had time to prepare for Ebola, given an almost year-long head start because the disease raged close to the cities of Beni and Butembo. Most residents seem to have taken the most recent developments in their pace, queuing up at the dozens of washing stations arranged on sidewalks by the federal government and private companies and avoiding shaking hands.

Nonetheless, there are weaknesses in the preparations, and doctors are encountering some of the same suspicion and hostility they have witnessed in other outbreak hotspots. In the current pandemic, the virus has killed over 1,800 folks, the second-highest toll ever.

Ebola, a hemorrhagic fever first discovered in Congo in 1976, spreads via direct contact with body fluids and sometimes kills roughly half of those it infects, though the mortality price is around two-thirds during the current outbreak as a result of many people are not looking for treatment.

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