The virtual event will discuss how WHO plans to contain the deadly Ebola and Marburg diseases and how Africa will offset the demands of these outbreaks with the rampant COVID-19. Panelists include WHO Regional Director for Africa Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the Minister of Health of the Ivory Coast Pierre N’Gou Dimba and the Minister of Health of Guinea Dr. Remy Lamah. Last week, Ivory Coast saw the first Ebola outbreak in 25 years. That shocking announcement came after Ivory Coast medical authorities confirmed they had found Ebola virus disease in samples from a patient hospitalized in the commercial capital of Abidjan after arriving from Guinea.
Ebola is a serious, often fatal disease that causes fever, aching limbs, and sometimes bleeding inside and outside the body.
In previous outbreaks, death rates have fluctuated between 25 and 90 percent, but effective treatment is now available, and when patients are treated and supported early, their chances of survival improve dramatically.
This year, Ebola outbreaks were reported in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Guinea, but it is the first time since the Western Ebola outbreak in 2014 and 2016 that an outbreak occurred in a major capital like Abidjan.
Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa, said: “It is extremely worrying that this outbreak was proclaimed in Abidjan, a metropolis of over four million people.
“However, much of the world’s Ebola know-how is here on the continent, and the Ivory Coast can leverage that experience and get the response in full swing.
“The country is one of the six countries that WHO recently supported to raise their Ebola preparedness, and this quick diagnosis shows that preparedness is paying off.”
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WHO is helping organize cross-border Ebola response activities and 5,000 Ebola vaccine doses the organization seized while fighting the outbreak in Guinea are now being transferred to Ivory Coast.
The confirmed Ebola case comes just days after a case of Marburg, a closely related disease, was found in Guinea.
The Marburg virus disease is a highly contagious hemorrhagic fever, similar to Ebola.
The two deadly diseases are transmitted through contact with infected body fluids and tissues, while symptoms include headache, vomiting blood, muscle pain and bleeding.
Although West Africa has not experienced COVID-19 to the same devastating extent as some European and American nations, it remains an ongoing problem with slow vaccine adoption.
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