Mali confirms first case of Ebola

Mali confirmed its first case of Ebola just hours after New York.

FILE: Liberian health workers in a burial squad carrying the body of an Ebola victim in Monrovia in September 2014. Picture: EPA.

NEW YORK - As scientists around the world scramble to find a cure for Ebola and the death toll steadily rises, Mali has now confirmed its first case, just hours after New York.

Mali's government says a two-year-old toddler has been diagnosed with the hemorrhagic fever.

Mali's Health Minister Ousmane Kone told state television that the patient in the western town of Kayes was a two-year-old girl who had recently arrived from neighbouring Guinea, where the outbreak began.

"The condition of the girl, according to our services, is improving thanks to her rapid treatment," the minister told state television.

A health ministry official, who asked not to be identified, said the girl's mother died in Guinea a few weeks ago and the baby was brought by relatives to the Malian capital Bamako, where she stayed for 10 days in the Bagadadji neighbourhood before heading to Kayes.

A ministry statement said the girl, who came from the Guinean town of Kissidougou, was admitted at the Fousseyni Daou hospital in Kayes on Wednesday night, where she was promptly tested for Ebola.

People who came into contact with the patient in Kayes have been identified and placed under watch, the minister said, but he appealed to any person who believed they may have had contact with the girl to step forward.

The vast majority of the deaths and nearly 10,000 cases of the disease have been in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Health officials say the toddler had recently travelled to guinea and all those who've come into contact with her, have now been put in isolation.


Last night New York confirmed a doctor who had also visited Guinea this week has become the first person diagnosed in the Big Apple.

The 33-year-old doctor Craig Spender had been working for Doctors Without Borders in West Africa.

Spender was rushed to hospital on Thursday and placed in isolation while healthcare workers spread across the city to trace anyone he might have come in contact with in recent days.

Officials said they expected isolated cases of the disease to arrive in New York eventually, and have been preparing for this moment for months. This first case highlights the challenge around containing the virus, especially in crowded metropolis areas.