The UN health agency said Tuesday that a second suspected case of infection with the deadly Ebola virus had been detected in Côte d’Ivoire.
World Health Organization (WHO) spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said there was one confirmed case and one suspected case as of Monday, with nine contacts identified so far. No deaths have been reported.
He said the WHO was “very concerned” about the virus’s ability to spread in the economic center of the West African country, Abidjan, with a population of more than four million.
Ebola, which is spread through close contact with body fluids, causes a severe fever and, in the worst case, unstoppable bleeding.
The confirmed case has been identified as an 18-year-old from Guinea who traveled by land and arrived in Abidjan last Wednesday on board a bus. When he left Guinea, he already had symptoms that continued to intensify.
She was admitted to a hospital Thursday with a fever and is currently receiving treatment.
“Preliminary investigations and genomic sequencing to identify the strain show that it is probably the Zaire virus strain,” Jasarevic told AFP. “More research is required to confirm these first results.”
That strain was behind a four-month-long Ebola outbreak that claimed 12 lives in Guinea earlier this year, which was declared over on June 19.
The same strain killed more than 11,300 people, mainly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone between 2013 and 2016.
Offer to ‘identify contacts’
Jasarevic said there was “no indication” that the Ivory Coast case was related to the Guinea cases.
Ivory Coast began vaccinating high-risk populations within 48 hours of the confirmed case report.
Residents of the Deux Plateaux neighborhood of his Abidjan neighborhood were among those vaccinated.
“We know that the patient stayed here (in Deux Plateaux) before going to the hospital, so all the people around who are the contact cases had to be vaccinated,” said the Minister of Health of Côte d’Ivoire, Pierre. Demba.
“We hope to reach 2,000 people in the next few days,” he added, among those who traveled with the infected young woman and those who were in contact with those travelers.
WHO vaccine doses placed in Guinea have now been moved to Côte d’Ivoire. There are now 5,000 doses in the country: 3,000 doses of a Johnson & Johnson vaccine and 2,000 doses of a Merck injection.
Experts are using the so-called ring vaccination strategy, administering doses to people who have come into contact with a confirmed Ebola patient, as well as first responders and health workers.
The Ebola case in Côte d’Ivoire is the third this year after the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Guinea.
It is the first known case of Ebola in the Ivory Coast since 1994.
Regional health officials said they were working to locate people who may have been in contact with her in her home region in northern Guinea.
He traveled more than 1,500 kilometers (930 miles) by bus to reach Abidjan.
“Currently, all the members of his family are with us in the isolation center,” local health director Mamadou Hady Diallo told AFP.
“We are continuing investigations to identify the contacts,” he said.