BAMAKO (Reuters) - The government of Mali confirmed the country’s second case of Ebola late on Tuesday and police deployed outside a clinic in the capital, Bamako, that authorities said had been quarantined.
In a statement via Twitter, Mali’s Information Minister Mahamadou Camara said “prevention measures” were being taken, but gave no details on the case. Local officials and diplomats said the new case was unrelated to the first one last month.
Mali became the sixth West African country to record a case of Ebola when a two-year-old girl from Guinea died in October. It has not recorded any confirmed cases since then and 108 people linked to the girl were due to complete their 21-day quarantine period on Tuesday.
Mali shares an 800 km (500 mile) border with Guinea, which alongside Liberia and Sierra Leone, has been worst affected by an Ebola outbreak that has killed nearly 5,000 people this year.
Medical officials and diplomats said Mali’s new Ebola case was a nurse who had been in contact with a man who arrived from Guinea and died in late October at the now locked down Pasteur Clinic.
One medical officer, who asked not to be identified, said the nurse who had Ebola died on Tuesday evening while another doctor was ill and had been quarantined. A government spokesman was not available to comment on the nurse’s reported death.
A Reuters reporter said that by nightfall police had deployed heavily in the area around the clinic, which is in the ACI 2000 neighbourhood and is considered among the city’s best.
The bodies of those who die with Ebola are contagious for up to three days after death, raising the risk of further infection if not dealt with properly.
Officials said the man believed to have brought the second case of Ebola to Mali was an imam from Guinea. He was not tested for Ebola while he was ill in Mali and his body was returned to Guinea without necessary precautions for the disease being taken, raising the prospect of further infections that will now have to be traced.
Reporting by Joe Penney and Tiemoko Diallo; writing and additional reporting by David Lewis; editing by Grant McCool and G Crosse