Ebola death in city of one million prompts fears of urban spread

There are fears that the current outbreak of Ebola in Democratic Republic of Congo could spread further after reports of three cases of the disease, including one death, in a city of around a million people. 

The mother of a known Ebola patient travelled to the city of Butembo where she fell ill. According to reports she was admitted to hospital where isolation procedures were put in place but she later died.

There are two other suspected cases of the highly infectious disease in the city but these have not yet been confirmed, according to the latest information from the World Health Organization (WHO).

Peter Salama, WHO’s deputy director-general for emergency preparedness and response, tweeted that that the case was detected quickly and a response was in place.

But he added: “Bad [news] is [the case] increases risk of further spread, and having Ebola in an urban centre makes ending the outbreak much harder.”

The outbreak of Ebola has been ongoing since the beginning of August in the north east of the country, where a number of militant groups operate and security is poor.  As of September 5 there have been 127 cases – 96 of which have been laboratory confirmed – including 87 deaths. 

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