No confirmed case of coronavirus in Côte d’Ivoire, rest of Africa

“China’s Coronavirus hits Africa, first case tested positive in Cote d’Ivoire,” reads the headline of an article posted on the site Ghana Publisher on 27 January 2020.

The article has been shared more than 1,000 times on Facebook. But its headline is false.

The patient was showing symptoms of coronavirus, but did not test positive for the disease. According to the World Health Organization’s most recent update on the outbreak, for 4 February, there have been no suspected confirmed cases of coronavirus in any African country.

What is coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more serious diseases. An outbreak of a new strain, named “2019-nCoV” and known as “novel coronavirus”, was identified in Wuhan, China in December 2019.

The WHO says “infection with 2019-nCoV can cause mild symptoms including a runny nose, sore throat, cough, and fever”.

In some people it can lead to pneumonia or breathing difficulties. In rare cases, the WHO says, coronavirus can be fatal. “Older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as diabetes and heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus.”

Coronavirus suspected – not confirmed

On 26 January Côte d’Ivoire’s ministry of health and public hygiene released a statement that a suspected case of coronavirus was under control.

A passenger on a Turkish Airlines flight from Beijing in China to Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire’s major city, had shown flu-like symptoms – coughing, sneezing, a runny nose and difficulty breathing.

The patient was examined and treated in quarantine at Abidjan’s Félix Houphouët Boigny airport. Biological samples were taken and sent for analysis.

The ministry said the patient’s general condition was satisfactory.

News of the suspected case was reported in global media. But it was not confirmed as coronavirus.

The WHO’s daily updates on the coronavirus outbreak do not mention any confirmed case of the disease in Côte d’Ivoire. So far, there have been no confirmed cases in Africa. – Mary Alexander


 

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