While West African countries focus on COVID-19 response, preparedness for potential Ebola cases emerging.
On 14th August, Cote d’Ivoire’s Ministry of Health confirmed the country’s first case of Ebola in over 25 years. Ebola is a severe, often fatal illness affecting humans and other primates. Case fatality rates have varied from 25% to 90% in past outbreaks. The World Health Organisation (WHO) said it was the first infection reported in the country since 1994 as confirmed by the Institut Pasteur in samples collected from a patient, who was hospitalized in the commercial capital of Abidjan, after arriving from Guinea. According to the WHO, initial investigations found that the patient had travelled to Cote d’Ivoire by road and arrived in the city on 12 August. The patient was admitted to a hospital after experiencing a fever and is currently receiving treatment.
Guinea has recently experienced a four-month long Ebola outbreak, which was declared over on 19th June 2021. The WHO said there was no indication that the current case in Cote d’Ivoire is linked to the earlier outbreak in Guinea. Adding that further investigation and genomic sequencing will identify the strain and determine if there is a connection between the two outbreaks. Earlier this week, Guinea also confirmed the first case of Marburg virus in West Africa. Marburg virus is a highly infectious disease that causes haemorrhagic fever similar to Ebola. The WHO said it was assisting in the coordination of cross-border Ebola response activities, which included transferring 5 000 doses of Ebola vaccines from Guinea to Cote d’Ivoire.