Abidjan (AFP)

Forty-nine cases of people who have been in contact with a young Guinean who tested positive for the Ebola virus in Abidjan have so far been identified, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday.

This young Guinean had left by road the city of Labé in Guinea last week, to go to the Ivorian economic capital, 1,500 km away.

"49 contacts on the journey have already been identified and also in families at the starting point in Labé," said Georges Ki-Zerbo, WHO expert during an online press briefing from the Africa branch of the 'organization.

"In Labé, 58 contacts have been identified," Elhadj Mamadou Houdy Bah, regional director of health for the city, told AFP on Wednesday.

"The good news is that they have not presented any sign yet. They are well followed," he added.

An Ivorian doctor said that 70 people were on board the bus in which the young woman traveled.

"33 have arrived in Abidjan, and the rest are scattered throughout Côte d'Ivoire," he said.

The bus made stops in Duékoué and Guezabo (West), as well as in the Ivorian administrative capital Yamoussoukro.

"A network was created and we were able to define the communities in which these people" live, said the Ivorian Minister of Health, Pierre Demba, at the same press briefing.

"We have focused on health monitoring: informing all our health centers and community structures so that possible cases can be indicated and taken care of, which has led to denouncing cases which have turned out to be false", he added.

Three suspected cases were declared negative for the Ebola virus, according to Ivorian health authorities.

Mr. Demba went to the border between his country and Guinea on Wednesday to "sensitize" caregivers and communities "on cross-border exchanges" and the need for "enhanced monitoring".

Matshidiso Moeti, regional director of WHO-Africa praised "the remarkable soldiery" between Guinea and Côte d'Ivoire in the face of Ebola, and "the speed of reaction" of the Ivorian authorities.

Ebola and Marburg disease detected in West Africa AFP

Guinea, assisted by WHO, delivered to its neighbor 5,000 doses of Ebola vaccine two days after the announcement, on August 14, of the detection of the virus on the young infected woman, and vaccinations began on Monday in Ivory Coast.

Along with Liberia and Sierra Leone, Guinea was severely affected from 2013 to 2016 by an Ebola epidemic that killed thousands.

The virus reappeared there earlier this year.

Although Côte d'Ivoire shares borders with Guinea and Liberia, the country had not recorded any confirmed cases of Ebola virus disease since 1994, the year a scientist was infected during an epidemic among chimpanzees.

© 2021 AFP