Ivory Coast begins Ebola vaccinations after first case detected in nearly 30 years

Case recorded in Abidjan, Ivory Coast business centre

Matt Mathers
Tuesday 17 August 2021 14:09
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Related: What is Ebola?

The Ivory Coast is vaccinating against Ebola after recording its first case of the killer disease in nearly 30 years.

An 18-year-old Guinean woman tested positive for the illness last week, health minister Pierre N'Gou Demba told state TV station RTI.

Officials said the woman arrived in the Ivory Coast on Wednesday having travelled by road from the city of Labe in her home country.

She was treated at an intensive care unit at a hospital in Abidjan, where she arrived complaining of fever. “This is an isolated and imported case,” Mr M'Gou Demba said.

Staff at the hospital have started receiving their jabs. Relatives of the woman are also getting inoculated. Health officials are trying to track down anyone the woman might have come into contact with.

Patrick Achi, the Ivory Coast prime minister, appealed for calm after the case had been confirmed, saying ministers had activated an emergency plan.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), it is the first case of Ebola recorded in the West Africa country since 1994.

Guinea experienced a four-month-long Ebola outbreak, which was declared over on 19 June 2021.

The WHO said there is not yet any indication to suggest the current case in the Ivory Coast is linked to the Guinea outbreak.

Further investigation and genomic sequencing will identify the strain and determine if there is a connection between the two outbreaks, the health body added.

Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO's regional director for Africa, said the new case is of "immense concern".

“However, much of the world’s expertise in tackling Ebola is here on the continent and Cote d’Ivoire can tap into this experience and bring the response to full speed," he added.

"The country is one of the six that WHO has supported recently to beef up their Ebola readiness and this quick diagnosis shows preparedness is paying off.”

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