Côte d’Ivoire declares first Ebola case in 25 years, amidst worries of further spread across the region

Experts fear the spread of Ebola to surrounding countries in the region, including Liberia.

Photo: Here, individuals use a public hand washing station in a Liberian village; staff and community healthcare workers encourage people to consistently wash hands whenever leaving and entering a building or house to prevent the spread of Ebola. Credit: David Lai/CARE

Abidjan (August 17th, 2021) – The first case of Ebola in 25 years was declared in Côte d’Ivoire on Saturday 14th August, sparking worries that the number of Viral Hemorrhagic Fever outbreaks may increase across the wider region and leading to an official Ebola Virus Disease outbreak declaration in the country. 

The Ebola case also comes 2 weeks after the death of a 46-year-old man in Gueckedou Préfecture, Guinea and several countries in West Africa are experiencing a third wave of COVID 19. Currently Guinea has nearly 28,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and has recorded 279 deaths.

CARE Côte d’Ivoire Country Director, Guillaume Aguettant says, “There is a high risk of further spread within the region as there is a strong likelihood that people from the affected communities in Guinea and Cote d'Ivoire may interact with communities from neighbouring countries such as Ghana, Burkina Faso, Mali, Sierra Leone and Liberia. From the previous outbreak in 2014-2016, we know that traders moved in large convoys on a weekly basis from Conakry to other neighbouring countries.

“This all comes amidst a wider context where we are also seeing a number of conflicts and armed group activities in countries like Burkina Faso and Mali, and multiple concurrent disease outbreaks; most notably cholera in Niger, that are all complicating public health response activities and increasing the risk of disease spread both locally within the country and to neighbouring countries in west Africa.”

He adds, “the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the 2014 Ebola outbreak have clearly shown us the need to have a multi-country approach in order to better respond in an effective and coordinated manner. We are, therefore, working together with our colleagues in Sierra Leone and Liberia offices to develop a sub-regional response capable of preventing the spread of the Ebola and Marburg viruses.”

Population in the affected areas of Mano River particularly women and girls living in the border areas of the 4 countries (Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone, and Liberia) affected by Ebola outbreak are well prepared to provide a gender and locally led based response and contribute effectively to stop transmission of and reduce mortality and morbidity of those affected to EVD.

CARE, through its Ebola contingency planning, stands ready to respond with in-country and cross border preparedness activities as well as programme designed to assist in the know-on effects of food security and livelihoods as well as enhancing in country and cross border preparedness and ability to tackle both Marburg and Ebola crisis (VHF) in Mano River; mitigate the socio-economic effects of the VHF epidemic by a gendered, safe and locally led response to emerging needs and vulnerability in food security, livelihoods; prevent and reduce the risk of mortality and morbidity as well as excess illness and death from preventable illnesses that could not be properly treated because of the both outbreaks for high risk groups particularly women and girls, health workers


About CARE in Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire

CARE operates in Guinea through its Côte d’Ivoire (CIV) office. CARE has strengthened its presence with recruitment staff in country. CARE has been responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in both countries with activities including information/prevention campaign, community mobilization, WASH, health, GBV (call center and protection activities) and cash transfer to most vulnerable groups. Most recently CARE responded to the Ebola outbreak in Guinea, mainly focused on prevention and WASH activities. CARE has been present in CIV since 2002. CARE has one office in the capital city Abidjan and 3 sub offices (Bouaké, Daloa and Soubré).