Ebola in West Africa Update | 24 October 2014
2-Year-Old Girl Dies of Ebola in Mali — Côte d’Ivoire looking for Guinean Ebola Medic
Yesterday Mali became the 6th nation in West Africa to confirm Ebola. Today the 2-year-old girl died of the disease, having just arrived from Guinea. (HTTPS://www.porostudiesassociation.org/ebola-spreads-mali/).
Medical staff wearing protective masks wait for passengers arriving from Guinea at Abidjan’s airport on October 20, 2014 (AFP Photo/Issouf Sanogo)
A two-year-old girl, who was Mali’s first reported case of Ebola, died on Friday, shortly after the World Health Organization warned that many people had potentially been exposed to the virus because she was taken across the country while ill.
The girl had travelled with her grandmother hundreds of miles by bus from Guinea via Mali’s capital Bamako to the western town of Kayes, where she was diagnosed on 23 October. Health workers are now trying to trace hundreds of potential contacts in a bid to prevent Ebola taking hold in Mali.
WHO said that an investigation into the girl’s case revealed that she had already started showing symptoms — and was therefore contagious — before being taken to Kayes.
“The child’s symptomatic state during the bus journey is especially concerning, as it presented multiple opportunities for exposures – including high-risk exposures – involving many people,” it added.
The girl was seen by health workers on Oct. 20 in Kayes but was referred to another hospital the next day where she tested positive for typhoid but was also bleeding from her nose. It was not until Oct. 23 that she tested positive for Ebola, WHO said.
Kayes is near the borders of Guinea-Bissau and Senegal, and only 420 kilometres (260 mi) northwest of the capital Bamako.
WHO said that 43 contacts had been identified and isolated but a second Malian health official, who asked not to be identified, told Reuters that authorities estimated that at least 300 people had been in contact with the infected child.
Hours before Mali confirmed the case on Thursday, WHO Assistant Director-General Keiji Fukuda said the agency had “reasonable confidence” that there was not widespread transmission of the Ebola virus into neighbouring countries.
In the capital Bamako, residents voiced alarm at the girl having spent time in the city’s Bagadadji district before travelling on Sunday to Kayes, some 600 km to the northwest near the Senegalese border.
Mali was the sixth West African nation to record a case of Ebola. Senegal and Nigeria have successfully contained outbreaks and has been declared free of the disease. Spain and the United States have had a several cases, the newest an ER doctor who had just returned from treating Ebola patients in Guinea, but was not quarantined. He became ill and tested positive for Ebola today after breaking his self-imposed quarantine for some bowling and fun in New York City.
There is much concern about the preparedness of Mali, one of the world’s poorest countries, to contain an outbreak. Home to a large U.N. peacekeeping mission, the mostly Muslim country is still battling northern Islamist militants after a brief war last year.
IVORY COAST CONTACT
Both Mali and Ivory Coast have put in place border controls in an attempt to stop Ebola entering from Guinea or in the case of Liberia too. However, a visit to Mali’s border with Guinea by Reuters this month showed vehicles avoiding a health checkpoint set up by Malian authorities by simply driving through the bush.
Learning that one of his patients had Ebola, a Guinean health care worker slipped surveillance and fled to the Ivory Coast today, where a manhunt for him is underway.
Raymonde Goudou Coffie, Ivory Coast’s health minister, said they did not know if the man had Ebola but had to be traced as he had been in contact with someone who had the disease.
If this man is carrying the virus, he might become the first Ivorian Ebola case.