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The first two cases of Ebola detected in South Kivu, third province affected in DRC

August 16, 2019

RUBBER (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO), Aug 16 (Reuters / EP) –

A woman and her daughter are the first two confirmed cases of Ebola in the South Kivu region, which opens a new front in the fight against this outbreak that already affects two other eastern regions of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), those of North Kivu and Ituri.

Health officials have reported Friday that the latest cases, confirmed this week, are more than 700 kilometers south of where the outbreak was first detected.

The virus has so far killed at least 1,900 since the country's authorities declared the outbreak on August 1, 2018, so it is already the worst suffered in DRC – a country in which Ebola was first detected – – and the second worldwide after which West Africa hit.

The 24-year-old woman had been identified as a high-risk contact for another case of Ebola in Beni, more than 700 kilometers north, last month, according to the Congolese government in a statement on Friday.

The woman traveled by bus, boat and road with her two children to Mwenga, in South Kivu, where she died Tuesday night, according to authorities. The woman had been vaccinated and the Ebola response team, led by the Government, has identified 120 contacts and vaccinated 20 of them on Thursday.

The governor of South Kivu, Théo Ngwabidje Kasi, has confirmed the two cases and called on the population to collaborate with the response team against the epidemic. “I strongly urge the entire population to cooperate with the response teams, observing the hygienic and preventive measures,” he said, according to the Actualité media.

The last cases confirm the difficulty of containing the outbreak, which has continued to spread despite efforts due to distrust of the population and the prevailing insecurity in the area, in which numerous armed groups operate. In July, the first cases were confirmed in the city of Goma, the main city of North Kivu with two million inhabitants and on the border with Rwanda.