Mali Investigators Identify Five Ebola Cases With Sixth Possible

Investigators have identified five people infected by Ebola in Mali and have a sixth suspected case as the nation races to contain the virus that has ravaged three of its West African neighbors.

More than 200 people who had contacts with those individuals have been identified, and new cases will probably be confirmed in the coming days, Hubert Balique, a French public-health expert consulting with the French embassy in Mali, told reporters yesterday in the capital city, Bamako.

A 25-year-old nurse died from Ebola on Nov. 11 at a clinic in Mali, the World Health Organization and Mali health authorities said on Nov. 12. She had treated a 70-year-old grand imam from Guinea, who was hospitalized for kidney failure and wasn’t tested for Ebola.

A worker at the same clinic is in isolation as officials race to prevent the virus from spreading further in a fourth West African nation. Ebola has killed more than 5,000 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since December, making it the worst outbreak since the disease was identified in 1976 in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Pasteur Clinic in Bamako, where the clinic staff member and the nurse worked, has been quarantined, France’s embassy said in a text message to its registered nationals in the country yesterday. The message asked anyone who had treatment at the clinic or knows someone who did to call a phone line.

Mali is getting help from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to trace people who have had contact with Ebola-infected individuals, Balique said.

Senegal and Nigeria have been declared free of the disease. Mali last month became the sixth country in West Africa to confirm a case of Ebola, when a woman brought her infected 2-year-old granddaughter from Guinea. The girl died on Oct. 24. The WHO now lists four deaths in Mali, including the original case, which is unrelated to the current outbreak.

Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita asked Prime Minister Moussa Mara to take steps to prevent the further spread of the virus, the nation’s council of ministers said in an e-mailed statement.

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Dan Mullin is an active writer and editor for the Pluto Daily who covered the 2014 Ebola Outbreak. Mullin attended the Wake Forest School of Medicine before leaving to pursue his lifelong science goal of allowing humans to live forever via a computer/brain transfer.