Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa has hinted that, the Ministry of Health of Cote d’Ivoire today confirmed the country’s first Ebola case since 1994.
While pushing governments to concentrate on the COVID-19 response, they should also improve their preparedness for possible Ebola cases.
The Ebola Virus Disease was confirmed in samples taken from a patient who was hospitalized in the commercial metropolis of Abidjan after coming from Guinea, according to the Institut Pasteur in Cote d’Ivoire.
The patient had traveled to Cote d’Ivoire by vehicle and arrived in Abidjan on August 12th, according to preliminary findings.
After developing a fever, the patient was admitted to the hospital and is currently undergoing treatment.
Guinea was hit by an Ebola outbreak that lasted four months and was declared over on June 19, 2021.
There is no evidence that the recent case in Cote d’Ivoire is connected to the Guinea outbreak.
Further investigation and genome sequencing will be used to identify the strain and determine if the two outbreaks are linked.
This year, Ebola outbreaks have been proclaimed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Guinea, but it is the first time since the 2014–2016 West Ebola outbreak that an outbreak has occurred in a large capital city like Abidjan.
“It is of enormous concern that an outbreak has been declared in Abidjan, a metropolis of more than 4 million people,” Moeti said.
“However, most of the world’s expertise in combating Ebola is right here on the continent, and Cote d’Ivoire may draw on this knowledge to speed up the response.
The country is one of six that WHO has recently aided in improving their Ebola preparedness, and this early diagnosis demonstrates that preparation is paying off.”
She went on to say that WHO is assisting in the coordination of cross-border Ebola response activities, and that 5000 Ebola vaccine doses that the organization helped secure to combat the outbreak in Guinea are now being transferred to Cote d’Ivoire, thanks to an agreement between the health ministries of the two countries.
A plane is leaving Abidjan soon to gather vaccines that will be used to vaccinate those who are at high risk, including as health workers, first responders, and people who have been in contact with proven cases.
“WHO staff in Cote d’Ivoire are assisting with the case inquiry.”
A multidisciplinary team of WHO experts will also be quickly sent to the field, covering all key response areas.
They will assist with increasing infection prevention and control at health institutions, diagnostics, contact tracing, treatment, and outreach to communities to ensure that they play an important role in the response.
Cote d’Ivoire disclosed the epidemic in accordance with international health regulations, and the World Health Organization does not recommend any limitations on travel to or from the country.
“While governments focus on COVID-19, they should strengthen their preparedness for any Ebola cases,” she said.
While Cote d’Ivoire borders Guinea and Liberia, both of which were hit severely by the West Africa Ebola outbreak in 2014–2016, the country has had no confirmed cases since 1994, when a chimp outbreak infected a scientist.
Ebola is a deadly disease that affects humans and other primates.
In previous outbreaks, case mortality rates have ranged from 25% to 90%.
There is now good treatment available, and patients’ chances of survival improve dramatically if they receive treatment and supportive care early.