The World Health Organization said new tests show Ivory Coast did not have its first case of Ebola in more than 25 years, reversing its course after the case reported last month prompted the deployment of thousands of vaccines.
The initial report sparked fear because the young woman traveled by bus for several days from Guinea to Ivory Coast, and came into contact with at least 140 people, according to health officials.
Eventually, she made her way to Abidjan, the commercial capital of four million people, before being taken to hospital, where she was tested positive for Ebola. However, no other suspected cases emerged in the weeks that followed.
Ivorian health authorities told the World Health Organization on Tuesday that a second laboratory, the Pasteur Institute in Lyon, France, had retested those samples “and found no evidence of the virus.”
“With new results from the laboratory in Lyon, WHO considers that the patient did not have Ebola virus disease, and further analyzes on the cause of her illness are still ongoing,” the World Health Organization said in a statement late Tuesday.
The Ebola virus is transmitted through contact with an infected person’s body fluids or contaminated materials. However, early symptoms of fever and muscle aches are similar to other common illnesses such as malaria.
The 2014-2016 epidemic that began in rural areas of Guinea eventually spread to the capitals of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. More than 11,325 people died in what became the largest Ebola outbreak in history.
In the years that followed, two new vaccines and treatments were developed to treat hemorrhagic fevers that killed more than half of its victims. These tools helped end an outbreak in Congo and another in Guinea this year.
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