In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, in which the African population is being vaccinated slowly, Côte d’Ivoire has started vaccinating against Ebola again, according to the Ivorian Ministry of Health. The vaccination campaign, which began Monday August 16, comes after the country recorded its first known case of the disease since 1994. According to health ministry officials, relatives of the first detected case will even be vaccinated by health workers the afternoon of Monday.
5,000 doses of the Ebola vaccine have been shipped from Guinea and will be used for vaccination. Health workers had indicated that target groups had already started vaccinating on Sunday. The 18-year-old Guinean woman, who is currently receiving treatment in Abidjan, arrived by bus Thursday and tested positive for the Ebola virus, raising fears that other people might have been infected during her trip. Health officials said they were not immediately clear whether the case was linked to an outbreak in neighboring Guinea earlier this year, which was declared over in mid-June.
Ivorian Health Minister Pierre N’Gou Demba said the woman tested positive the next day “and was immediately diagnosed and treated by our health services”. It is currently not known whether others in Guinea have developed Ebola. The virus is spread through contact with an infected person’s body fluids or contaminated material. However, the first symptoms of fever and muscle pain are similar to other common diseases such as malaria.
“Further research and genome sequencing will identify the strain and determine whether there is a link between the two outbreaks,” the WHO said on Saturday. “It is extremely worrying that this epidemic has been declared in Abidjan, a metropolis of over 4 million people,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “However, much of the global expertise in the fight against Ebola is here on the continent and Côte d’Ivoire can benefit from that experience,” she added.