The health minister, Pierre N’Gou Dimba, says an 18-year-old female who travelled to Abidjan from neighbouring Guinea has tested positive for Ebola
Côte d’Ivoire has recorded its first case of the Ebola haemorrhagic virus in 25 years, the country’s health minister has announced.
On Saturday, Pierre N’Gou Dimba said on national television that officials confirmed the case after testing samples from an 18-year-old female who had travelled from neighbouring Guinea.
“This is an isolated and imported case,” he said, adding that the patient was being treated in intensive care in Abidjan, the commercial capital.
In a separate statement, the World Health Organization (WHO) said the case was Côte d’Ivoire’s first Ebola infection since 1994.
“This came after the Institut Pasteur in Ivory Coast confirmed the Ebola virus disease in samples collected from a patient, who was hospitalised in the commercial capital of Abidjan, after arriving from Guinea,” the WHO said in the statement.
The WHO said initial investigations found the patient had travelled to Côte 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,” it said.
Guinea – site of the 2014-16 Ebola outbreak, the deadliest on record – experienced a four-month Ebola upsurge earlier this year that was declared over on 19 June.
Guinea early this week also confirmed a first case of the Marburg virus in West Africa. Marburg virus disease is a highly infectious haemorrhagic fever similar to Ebola.
Transmission of both diseases occurs through contact with infected bodily fluids and tissue. The symptoms include headache, vomiting blood, muscle pains and bleeding.
The WHO said there was no indication the current case in Côte d’Ivoire is linked to the outbreak in Guinea earlier this year. It said further investigation and genomic sequencing will identify the strain and determine if there was a connection.
“It is of immense concern that this outbreak has been declared in Abidjan, a metropolis of more than four million people,” Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s regional director for Africa, said in the statement.
“However, much of the world’s expertise in tackling Ebola is here on the continent and Côte d’Ivoire can tap in to this experience and bring the response to full speed,” she said.
The WHO said it was helping to co-ordinate a cross-border response, which included transferring 5,000 doses of the Ebola vaccine from Guinea to Côte d’Ivoire.