Title: How Côte d’Ivoire avoided the 2014 Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak
INTRODUCTION: The Ebola Virus Disease Epidemic (EVD), confirmed in March 2014 in Guinea, spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone, resulting in 28,646 cases over two years, including 11,323 deaths across ten countries. Côte d'Ivoire, which shares borders with Guinea and Liberia, due to high level of population movements, was considered a country at high risk of contamination. Despite its proximity to epidemic outbreaks, Côte d'Ivoire recorded no cases of Ebola virus disease. Faced with a threat posed by this dreadful disease, the Ivorian authorities put in place a series of measures to prevent the spread of the epidemic throughout the territory. The present work aims at describing a control strategy in order to increase knowledge on methods to prevent the cross-border spread of the epidemics.
PREVENTION STRATEGIES: The strategic axes were mainly coordination, surveillance, border health control, case management and community involvement.
RESULTS: A total of 92 alert cases including 10 suspects were reported for which the Ebola tests were negative. There were 66,880 phone calls recorded across the two hotlines. Following the confirmation of the epidemic on 21 March, 2014, four forward coordination posts were established in the border areas of Guinea and Liberia. These posts made it possible, with the involvement of the administrative authorities, opinion leaders, traditional and religious communities, to raise awareness and inform all the populations of the border localities about the methods of transmission and measures to prevent the disease, in particular hand washing, preventing the handling of corpses, hunting and the consumption of game.
CONCLUSION: Despite the measures taken to address the threat of Ebola, the risk of spreading the epidemic in Côte d'Ivoire existed. The strategies developed made it possible to prevent the cross-border spread of the epidemic in Côte d'Ivoire. The prevention measure relating to community involvement could be considered the fundamental factor that helped protect the Ivorian population against this dreadful disease. Certainly, there was a high risk of spreading the epidemic in Côte d'Ivoire; yet; not absolute.