BAMAKO, Mali – Mali is making headway in preventing the spread of Ebola, as it has not registered any new cases since a toddler travelling from Guinea became the country’s first case last month.
The child’s death on Oct. 24 is Mali’s only known Ebola case, while nearly 5,000 others have succumbed to the virus across West Africa.
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Nearly 30 members of a family that was visited by the two-year-old girl, who later died of Ebola, have now been released from a 21-day quarantine after they showed no symptoms of the disease, Malian health officials said Tuesday.
The family is now free to move about, Markatie Daou, said a spokesman for the Malian Health Department. The girl, Fanta Kone, visited their home with her grandmother in the capital of Bamako and soon after the toddler succumbed to the virus.
People with Ebola are only contagious when they are showing symptoms, and health officials have said that the little girl was bleeding from her nose when she passed through the capital en route to the western city of Kayes where she died.
Mali is not completely clear yet as about 50 others who had possible contact with the girl remain under observation in Kayes. They will be released from quarantine on Nov. 16 if they do not show symptoms, Daou said.
Mali – which shares a porous land border with Guinea – has long been seen as vulnerable to Ebola because of the large number of people moving back and forth between the two countries.
The girl’s case alarmed health authorities because she is believed to have been contagious as she travelled.
WHO has said that the little girl had been living in Guinea, where other members of her family are believed to have also died from Ebola including her father. The girl’s mother, grandmother and two siblings – aged 3 months and 5 years – appear not to have contracted the virus.
Mali’s persistent use of “contact tracing, isolation and monitoring” helped to prevent the spread of Ebola, said WHO.