This is the first Ebola outbreak declared by the country’s Ministry of Health since 1994.
The declaration was made after the Institut Pasteur in Cote d’Ivoire confirmed the Ebola Virus Disease in samples collected from a patient, who was hospitalized in the commercial capital of Abidjan, after arriving from Guinea.
Initial investigations found that the patient had travelled to Cote d’Ivoire by road and arrived in Abidjan on 12 August. The patient was admitted to a hospital after experiencing a fever and is currently receiving treatment.
A statement by the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Africa said Cote d’Ivoire declared the outbreak in line with International Health Regulations and WHO does not advise any travel restrictions to and from the country.
“It is of immense concern that this outbreak has been declared in Abidjan, a metropolis of more than 4 million people,” Dr Matshidiso Moeti, Regional Director for WHO Africa said.
It said the world’s expertise in tackling Ebola is on the African continent and Cote d’Ivoire could tap into the experience and bring the response to full speed.
The statement said Cote d’Ivoire was one of the six countries that WHO has supported recently to beef up their Ebola readiness and this quick diagnosis showed preparedness was paying off.
It said while countries are focused on the COVID-19 response, they should strengthen their preparedness for potential Ebola cases.
Guinea experienced a four-month long Ebola outbreak, which was declared over on the 19 June 2021.
There is no indication that the current case in Cote d’Ivoire is linked to the earlier outbreak in Guinea. Further investigation and genomic sequencing will identify the strain and determine if there is a connection between the two outbreaks.
This year Ebola outbreaks have been declared in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Guinea, but it is the first time an outbreak has occurred in a large capital city such as Abidjan since the 2014–2016 West Ebola outbreak.
Ebola is a severe, often fatal illness affecting humans and other primates, Case fatality rates have varied from 25 per cent to 90 per cent in past outbreaks.
There is now effective treatment available and if patients receive treatment early, as well as supportive care, their chances of survival improve significantly.