Kinshasa, Sep 22 (AP/UNB) — A Congolese woman who refused an Ebola vaccination and then disappeared has died of the virus near the heavily traveled border with Uganda, which is preparing to begin vaccinations as needed.
The confirmed Ebola death announced by local authorities highlights the challenges health workers are facing in a region of northeastern Congo that had never experienced an outbreak of the hemorrhagic fever before. Authorities have fought rumors and trained community members including traditional healers in efforts to calm and educate nervous residents.
The 32-year-old woman had assisted in the burials of other Ebola victims and health workers had followed her as a possible case, but she refused a vaccination and disappeared from the city of Beni, said the vice governor of Ituri Province, Pacifique Keta.
She died on Thursday at a hospital in Tshomia, on Lake Albert.
It is the closest a confirmed Ebola death in the current outbreak has been to Uganda, which has said it was making arrangements with the World Health Organization to vaccinate health workers and other high-risk populations as needed. Three thousand vaccine doses will be imported.
Congo's health ministry said that as of Friday there have been 116 confirmed cases, including 68 deaths, of Ebola in the outbreak that was declared on Aug. 1. More than 10,000 people have been vaccinated.
Ebola monitoring has been taking place at the border and Uganda is considered what WHO calls "very high risk."
"To date, health workers in Uganda have responded to over 100 Ebola alerts that have been found to be negative for the Ebola virus," WHO's country office there has said.
The U.N. health agency has not recommended travel restrictions.
Accra, Sep 11 (AP/UNB) — The body of former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has received a hero's welcome upon landing at Kotoka International Airport in Ghana's capital.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was with Annan's widow and family members Monday as uniformed soldiers brought Annan's coffin down from the aircraft amid solemn music played by a detachment of Ghana's armed forces. Prayers followed.
To signify Annan's return home, the U.N. flag covering the coffin was replaced by a Ghanaian one.
Annan will lie at the Accra International Conference Center, where people can pay their respects in the days before Thursday's state funeral.
Annan died in August in Switzerland at age 80.
The grandson of tribal chiefs, he was the first black African to work as U.N. secretary-general, and was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize.
Warri, Sep 11 (AP/UNB) — A gas depot exploded in central Nigeria, killing 18 people and leaving some burned beyond recognition, a witness said Monday.
More than 40 other people had burns after the blast in Lafia, the capital of Nasarawa state, taxi driver Yakubu Charles told The Associated Press. He said he helped to evacuate victims after more than a dozen occupied vehicles were set on fire. Victims had to be taken to hospitals on motorbikes as no ambulances were available, he said.
Both the Nigeria Police Force and Federal Road Safety Corps confirmed the blast but declined to give a number of casualties.
Nigeria's Senate president, Bukola Saraki, in a Twitter post called the explosion "horrific" and said he met with survivors. He offered prayers for families who lost relatives.
Many gas dealers operate mini-depots in Nigerian cities with no strong measures to regulate their activities, leading to frequent explosions. In January, 10 people died in a blast in Magodo in Lagos state.