(CNN)A second person has died after contracting Ebola in Goma, a major transit hub in the Democratic Republic of Congo on the Rwandan border, according to Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).
The patient passed away on Wednesday, around 26 hours after being admitted to an MSF-supported Ebola treatment center, the organization said on Twitter. World Health Organization (WHO) officials have feared Ebola’s arrival in the city for months. Goma is home to a highly mobile population of more than 1 million, which makes the risk of the disease spreading high. “This is an event we have anticipated. This is why we have been doing intensive preparedness work in Goma so that any new case is identified and responded to immediately,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO’s director general, said on Twitter. More than 5,000 health workers have been vaccinated against Ebola in the city and health centers have been provided with training and equipment to improve infection prevention and control, he said. Read MoreScreenings at border crossings have been reinforced and 24-hour monitoring has been implemented at the airport, Ghebreyesus added.WHO declared the latest Ebola outbreak a Health Emergency of International Concern on June 17, a day after the first person diagnosed in Goma died. That patient was a pastor who had left South Kivu to evangelize in Butembo, a center of the current Ebola outbreak. Ghebreyesus said there was no indication that the second victim was linked to the first case.The man was described by WHO officials as a miner who had just returned to his home in Goma.Jean-Jacques Muyembe Tamfum, head of the WHO Ebola Response Teams, said during a Tuesday press conference that workers had been deployed to disinfect the victim’s home and the health center he passed through. “We have already established a list of high-risk contacts and as early as [Wednesday] we will start to compile a list of contacts, and … these contacts will be vaccinated,” he said.Fighting Ebola is hard but in the Congo mistrust and fear is making it harderThe rare but deadly Ebola virus disease can cause fever, headache, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea and unexplained bleeding, among other symptoms. The virus was first identified in 1976 when outbreaks occurred near the Ebola River in the DRC.Scientists think the virus initially infected humans through close contact with an infected animal, such as a bat, and then the virus spread from person to person.The virus spreads between humans through direct contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids, including infected blood, feces or vomit, or direct contact with contaminated objects, such as needles and syringes.The current Ebola outbreak in the DRC is the second-deadliest in history, topped only by one in West Africa in 2014, when the disease killed more than 11,000 people, according to the WHO.To mark Thursday’s first anniversary of the current outbreak being declared, UN agencies issued a joint statement on Wednesday, saying there have been more than 2,600 confirmed cases, including more than 1,800 deaths, in parts of DRC’s Ituri and North Kivu provinces.”Almost one in three ‘cases’ is a child,” the agencies said in the statement.