Ivory Coast has recorded its first case of the Ebola hemorrhagic virus in 25 years, according to the country’s health minister.
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 travelled from neighbouring Guinea.
“This is an isolated and imported case,” he said, adding that the patient was currently being treated in intensive care in Abidjan, the commercial capital.
In a separate statement, the World Health Organization (WHO) said the case was Ivory Coast’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 hospitalized 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 Ivory Coast by road and arrived in Abidjan on August 12.
“The patient was admitted to a hospital after experiencing a fever and is currently receiving treatment,” it said.
Guinea – site of the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak, the deadliest on record – experienced a four-month Ebola outbreak earlier this year that was declared over on June 19.
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, while symptoms include headache, vomiting blood, muscle pains and bleeding.
The WHO said there was no indication the current case in Ivory Coast 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 4 million people,” Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, said in the statement.
“However, much of the world’s expertise in tackling Ebola is here on the continent and Ivory Coast can tap into this experience and bring the response to full speed,” she said.
The WHO said it was helping to coordinate a cross-border response, which included transferring 5,000 doses of the Ebola vaccine from Guinea to Ivory Coast.