Ivory Coast Ebola Patient Recovers, Beginning Countdown to End of Outbreak

By Reuters Staff

August 26, 2021

ABIDJAN (Reuters) - A woman in Ivory Coast who earlier this month tested positive for the Ebola virus has recovered, allowing the country to begin a 42-day countdown to declaring an end to the outbreak, a senior health official said on Wednesday.

The 18-year-old woman, who tested positive after arriving in the commercial capital Abidjan from neighbouring Guinea, has been the only confirmed Ebola case so far, said Mamadou Samba, Ivory Coast's director general of health.

However, authorities are still looking for potential contacts of the woman, who travelled hundreds of kilometres by bus, Samba said, raising the possibility of additional unidentified infections.

"We are observing the 42 days to declare the end of the outbreak, if there are no new cases," Samba told Reuters.

The woman will remain under surveillance at a medical facility in Abidjan, he added, without saying why.

The case was Ivory Coast's first of the deadly virus in 25 years. Health officials have said they are deeply concerned about an outbreak in Abidjan, a densely-populated city of more than 4 million.

Ivorian authorities believe the woman travelled from northern Guinea through Nzerekore region in the southeast, where the last Ebola outbreak began, on her way to Abidjan.

Guinea was declared free of Ebola on June 19 after a four-month outbreak killed 12 people.

Ebola typically kills about half of those it infects, although vaccines and new treatments have proved highly effective in reducing fatality rates.

Ivory Coast began vaccinating health workers early last week before expanding those eligible to include residents of the Abidjan neighbourhood where the woman resides.