Ivory Coast’s Ministry of Health has announced that it has tested the first suspect of the Coronavirus.
It noted in a statement that early observations on the victim leaned towards pneumonia, but also displayed flu-like symptoms like coughing, sneezing and respiratory problems, which are red flags for coronavirus.
The 34-year-old female student is the first person to be tested for the virus in Africa. The traveller, whose identity had been withheld for safety reasons, disembarked from a flight from Beijing, at the Félix-Houphouët-Boigny International Airport, in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
According to authorities, the student was pulled aside and quarantined after she displayed symptoms of the virus.
Officials said, if confirmed, the woman who is undergoing further tests after showing flu-like symptoms, will be the first case of the novel coronavirus in Africa.
CNN reports that the virus, which first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan has witnessed more than 100 deaths, 4,500 infected as it spreads.
Fifteen cities in China are fully or partially locked down as the U.S. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns against nonessential travels into the country. A dozen of doctors in Wuhan hospitals have also been reported to be infected by the virus.
Meanwhile, the CDC has confirmed five cases of a SARS-like form of coronavirus in the U.S and more than 60 cases around the world.
Thailand and Hong Kong have each reported 8 cases of infection; Taiwan, Australia and Macau have 5 each; Singapore, Japan, South Korea, and Malaysia each has reported 4; France has 3; Vietnam has 2, Nepal 1 and Canada 1
According to CDC, the first case was reported on December 1, 2019, and has since witnessed rapid widespread as virus spread via contacts (both direct and indirect) as well as droplets.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease and Control (NCDC) Director-General Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu has said that the centre has been working on a whole series of infectious diseases outbreak in the past few years and increasing its capacity.
According to him, this is a time to be grateful for that investment in our country. “Initially, we thought it was just transmitted from animals to humans. There’s something we call zoonotic transmission, but over the last few days, we have found some human to human transmission.
“So what we are doing as a centre is working with our partners – the WHO, Africa Centre for Disease Control and all other partners to prepare ourselves to learn as much as we can of this new virus to provide Nigerians and experts the information that they need to control this new disease.
“What we will advise Nigerians (those going and those coming in) … if you are going, avoid contact with wild animals, markets.”
“For those coming back, if you have respiratory symptoms, cough, catarrh, pneumonia, fever etc., do let the portal authorities know at the airports and if you notice the symptoms after you come into the country, contact NCDC. Our toll-free number is (0800 9700 0010) and we will arrange for samples to be collected,” Ihekweazu added.