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Ebola Virus Disease in Mali (Update)

27 Oct 2014

The health authorities of Mali have announced the death of the two-year-old girl who was the first case of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in the country.

Investigation of the case identified an extensive travel history of the child and her grandmother. The grandmother travelled from Mali to attend a funeral in the town of Kissidougou, in southern Guinea. WHO is seeking confirmation that the funeral was for the child’s mother, who is said to have shown symptoms of EVD before her death.

On 19 October, the child left Guinea with her grandmother to return to Mali. The child was symptomatic with epistaxis (nose bleeds) during her travels by public transport through Keweni, Kankan, Sigouri, and Kouremale to Bamako, with a two hour stop off in Bamako before travelling on to Kayes. Multiple opportunities for exposure occurred as the child was obviously symptomatic.

WHO is treating the situation in Mali as an emergency. The symptomatic state of the case during the bus journey is a particular concern, as it involved many individuals and also presented some high-risk exposures.

Advice for Travellers

The risk of travellers becoming infected or developing Ebola haemorrhagic fever is extremely low, unless there has been direct contact with blood or bodily fluids of dead or living infected persons or animals. Healthcare workers are at particular risk, although practising appropriate infection control should effectively prevent transmission of disease in this setting.

Travellers returning from tropical countries should always seek rapid medical attention if they develop flu-like symptoms (such as fever, headache, diarrhoea or general malaise) within three weeks after return, and be reminded to mention to their health care provider that they have recently travelled.