Category Archives: Ebola and Poro

Mali reports second Ebola death

A police officer stands guard outside the quarantined Pasteur Clinic in Bamako November 12, 2014. REUTERS/Joe Penney

A police officer stands guard outside the quarantined Pasteur Clinic in Bamako November 12, 2014. REUTERS/Joe Penney

Today Mali reported its second confirmed case and subsequent death from Ebola.

An imam from the Guinea border town of Kouremale died on 27 October from an Ebola-like disease two days after appearing at the Pasteur Clinic in Bamako, the Malian capital of 2 million people. Unfortunately, Ebola was not suspected, and the man was never tested.

His body was ceremonially washed in a Bamako mosque, and then returned to Guinea. It is feared that if indeed he was infectious, many mourners and other contacts could have become infected (in both Mali and Guinea).

A nurse who cared for him at the hospital became ill, tested positive for Ebola virus two weeks later on 11 November, and died later that evening. More than 90 possible contacts have since been placed in quarantine, and the clinic has been locked down.

The first case reported in Mali was a two-year-old girl who became infected at a funeral in Sierra Leone but subsequently died in Mali after traveling there with her Grandmother. No other cases in Mali have been traced back to the girl, and her known contacts have completed their 21-day quarantine period.

Likewise, the imam translocated from across the border in Guinea. Therefore, the nurse was probably the third Malian case, but the first person known to have contracted the disease within Mali.

We have discussed the roles that the traditional rituals of the Poro and Sande societies play in the spread of the virus, but this case illustrates that the neighboring Islamic rituals, particularly funerary customs, are also possible disease vectors.

Wikipedia, Ebola, and African Languages | Mali | UMass Ebola Panel 28 October

27 October 2014

• Wikipedia, Ebola, and African Languages: Wikipedia Is Emerging as Trusted Internet Source for Information on Ebola

Beyond Niamey reports that an article in the New York Times, “Wikipedia Is Emerging as Trusted Internet Source for Information on Ebola” (26 Oct. 2014), mentions translations of a main article on ebola “into other languages” – from English being understood. Those translations are coordinated through the Medical Translation Project / Translation Task Force (MTP/TTF) of the WikiProject Medicine, the

• Mali to keep Guinea border open despite Ebola death: president

• Ebola Epidemic to Be Discussed by Panel at UMass Amherst 28 October 2014

University of Massachusetts in Amherst announced that four panelists will discuss “The Ebola Epidemic: How We Got Here, Current Preparedness, and Future Outlook” on Tuesday, 28 October at 6 p.m. in the Campus Center Auditorium at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

The speakers are:

  • Martha Anker of the UMass Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences, a global surveillance and response expert in infectious disease
  • George Corey, executive director and medical director, University Health Services
  • Donna Gallagher, founding coordinator, UMass Medical School Office of Global Health
  • Alpha Kabinet Kaba of the Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter Public School, a native of Guinea whose family has been affected by the Ebola outbreak

Wilmore Webley, associate professor of microbiology and an expert in infectious disease and immunology, will be moderator.

Ebola in Mali: The Guinea-Mali Connection

Potential for Ebola Spread Along Route from Guinea to SW Mali

Some important details were revealed by WHO today regarding Mali’s first recorded case of Ebola, and the situation does not look good.

The two-year-old girl who died on 23 October had recently arrived from Guinea accompanied by her grandmother. Her first contact with the country’s health services occurred on 20 October, when she was examined by a health care worker at Quartier Plateau in Kayes, a city of about 12,000 people near the border with Senegal.

The health-care worker referred the grandmother and child to the Fousseyni Daou Hospital, in the same city, where she was admitted to the pediatric ward on the following day. Symptoms on admission included a fever of 39°C (102.2°F), cough, bleeding from the nose, and bloody diarrhea.

She tested positive for typhoid fever, but not malaria, and was given acetaminophen for fever, but did not improve. It wasn’t until three days after she initially presented that Ebola was confirmed. She died that day.

Long, infectious travel route a concern

Of major concern is the extensive travel history of the child and her grandmother. The grandmother traveled from her home in Mali to attend a funeral in the town of Kissidougou, in southern Guinea. This is home to the Mel-speaking Kissi, and very close to the Mande-speaking Koranko, both ethnic groups with Poro (variously called Poro, Tɔɔma vandiamua, or Komo by the former, and Gbangbani among the Koranko).

The region near Kissidougou in Guinea where the first Mali Ebola patient attended her mother’s funeral. This is home to the Kissi, and very close to the Koranko. (From Carey 2007).

The funeral may have been for the child’s mother, who was reportedly symptomatic with Ebola before her death, but this has yet to be confirmed. On 19 October, the grandmother left Kissidougou to return to Mali, taking the child with her on public transportation. The girl’s nasal bleeding began while they were still in Guinea, meaning that the child was symptomatic, and therefore infectious, during their travels through Guinea and Mali. Travel was by public bus through the towns of Keweni, Kankan, Sigouri, and Kouremale to Bamako. They stayed in Bamako for two hours before travelling on to Kayes.

Considering that the first patient out of the more than 10,000 cases to date was one 2-year-old boy in Guédéckou, Guinea, the tremendous opportunity for viral spread all along this travel route in ominous.

Kayes is near the borders of Guinea-Bissau and Senegal, and only 420 kilometres (260 mi) northwest of the capital Bamako.

Carey, Neil. 2007. Masks of the Koranko Poro: Form, Function and Comparison to the Toma. Amherst: Ethnos.

_________. 2013. Comparative Native Terminology of Poro Groups. Secrecy: Journal of  the Poro Studies Association, 1(1), 1-21.

_________. (2014). Art of the Kissi.  Retrieved October 8, 2014, from HTTPS://

WHO. (2014). Mali Confirms its First Case of Ebola: Ebola SitRep 24 October 2014.  Retrieved October 25, 2014, from HTTPS://

First Mali Patient Dies, Ivory Coast Searching For Ebola Suspect

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://

Medical staff wearing protective masks wait for passengers arriving from Guinea at Abidjan's airport on October 20, 2014 (AFP Photo/Issouf Sanogo)

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

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.


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.