Mali reported the death of a girl suspected of having Ebola, as the nation races to contain the virus that has ravaged three of its West African neighbors.
Results from tests to confirm whether the girl had the virus will be known today, Alassane Souleymane, a spokesman for Mali’s communication ministry, said by e-mail today.
Five people have been confirmed as having Ebola and a sixth case is suspected, Hubert Balique, a French public-health expert consulting with the French embassy in Mali, told reporters yesterday. It’s unclear whether the girl whose death was reported today was one of those cases. Officials have identified more than 200 people who had contact with those individuals, and new cases will probably be confirmed in coming days, he said.
In Sierra Leone, a U.S. surgeon infected with Ebola is being evaluated to determine whether he’s stable enough to be transported to the Nebraska Medical Center for treatment.
The patient’s condition will be assessed by a medical crew upon their arrival in the West African country, according to an e-mail from Taylor Wilson, a spokesman for Nebraska Medicine. If fit for transport, he will arrive in the city of Omaha in tomorrow afternoon.
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. He 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. Ebola has killed more than 5,000 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since December, making it the deadliest-ever outbreak of the virus. Ebola was first 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 to call a designated 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.
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.
(An earlier version of this story gave an incorrect gender for the nurse.)