The government of Cote d’Ivoire has informed the World Health Organization (WHO) that a second laboratory has tested samples from a patient suspected of having Ebola and has found no evidence of the virus.
The tests by the Institut Pasteur in Lyon, France follow tests conducted by the Institut Pasteur of Cote d’Ivoire, which led health authorities to announce their first Ebola case since 1994.
With the new results from the laboratory in Lyon WHO considers that the patient did not have Ebola virus disease and further analysis on the cause of her illness is ongoing.
The suspected case was a young woman who travelled from Guinea to Cote d’Ivoire. Since Cote d’Ivoire announced the case more than 140 contacts have been listed in the two countries. No one else has shown symptoms for the disease or tested positive for Ebola.
Ebola is a severe, often fatal illness affecting humans and other primates. Case fatality rates have varied from 25% to 90% in past outbreaks.
To prevent the spread of Ebola it is important to act urgently. Cote d’Ivoire health authorities alerted WHO of the case as required by the International Health Regulations 2005 and rapidly launched all key public health measures.
After Cote d’Ivoire announced the Ebola case, in line with the no-regrets policy followed by WHO, immediate actions were implemented in both Cote d’Ivoire and Guinea.
Around a dozen WHO experts were mobilized to support the country’s efforts and 5000 Ebola vaccine doses which WHO had helped Guinea procure were sent from Guinea to Cote d’Ivoire.
In addition, WHO released $500,000 from its Contingency Fund for Emergencies to support the country initiate a quick response.
The no-regrets policy encourages adopting measures immediately before all the dimensions and consequences of an emergency or outbreak are known with the aim of saving as many lives as possible.
WHO is now downgrading its actions in Cote d’Ivoire from response to readiness mode.
In support of the government’s response efforts, WHO worked with other development and health partners.
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