Mali confirms 2nd Ebola death, fights to prevent virus spread

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Mali scrambles to contain a fresh outbreak of Ebola as it confirmed the death of a nurse, the first case of the virus spreading within the country’s borders. Duration: 01:00

Mali confirms 2nd Ebola death, fights to prevent virus spread

Health-Ebola,update-WRAP

Mali battles second Ebola outbreak

by Serge DANIEL

BAMAKO, Nov 12, 2014 (AFP) – Mali scrambled Wednesday to contain a fresh outbreak of Ebola as it confirmed the death of a nurse, the first case of the virus spreading within the country’s borders.

The case has dashed optimism that Mali was free of the killer pathogen, just as it prepared to release from isolation dozens of people thought to have been exposed to the country’s first victim who died in October.

Officials say the new case, a 25-year-old man identified by family as Saliou Diarra, died Tuesday after treating a man who arrived from Guinea at a clinic in the capital Bamako.

The patient, 66-year-old Goita Sekou, was suffering from kidney failure and later died, according to medical sources, and authorities now believe he had Ebola.

Bamako’s Pasteur clinic has been quarantined, with around 30 people trapped inside, including medical staff, patients and 15 African soldiers from MINUSMA, the United Nations mission in Mali, according to one of the doctors inside the facility.

“We don’t understand this isolation measure… We have nothing to eat. It’s chaos — it’s a mess,” the doctor contacted by phone told AFP.

The first Ebola death of a Malian resident has raised fears of further contamination as it was unrelated to Mali’s only other confirmed fatality, a two-year-old girl who had also arrived from Guinea.

A doctor at the clinic is also suspected to have contracted the virus and is under observation outside the capital, the clinic said.

Mali’s health ministry called for calm on Wednesday, as it led a huge operation to stem the contagion.

Locals said many patients fled following the announcement of the nurse’s death late on Tuesday and escaped the quarantine measures.

– Sierra Leone cases ‘skyrocketing’ –

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Two-year-old Fanta Conte died after travelling to the western Malian town of Kayes by bus and taxi with her grandmother, sister and uncle, making frequent stops on a trip of more than 1,200 kilometres (750 miles).

They also spent two hours in Bamako, visiting relatives in a house of 25 people.

Almost 5,000 people have been killed by Ebola in the west African outbreak according to official data from the World Health Organization (WHO), which says the true scale of the epidemic could be much greater.

The virus kills around 70 percent of its victims, often shutting down their organs and causing unstoppable bleeding.

Morocco was stripped of hosting football’s 2015 Africa Cup of Nations on Tuesday and flung out of the competition after insisting that it wanted to postpone the tournament due to fears over the virus.

Meanwhile, the virus is continuing to spread in Sierra Leone, where the WHO said cases were “still skyrocketing” in the west of the country, including the capital Freetown.

– Drop in Liberia infections –

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There was better news in Liberia when the government said new cases had dropped from a daily peak of more than 500 in September to around 50.

Ebola emerged in Guinea in December, spreading to neighbouring Liberia and then Sierra Leone, infecting at least 13,000 people.

Cases have been identified, though on a much smaller scale, in Nigeria, Senegal, Spain and the US.

The last known person in the US with Ebola, 33-year-old doctor Craig Spencer, has recovered and been released from hospital.

“New York City’s first and only Ebola case is successfully treated. Dr Spencer is Ebola-free and New York City is Ebola-free,” Mayor Bill de Blasio proclaimed at the hospital, to cheers and applause.

Spencer said he was “healthy and no longer infectious”.

“My early detection reporting and now recovery from Ebola, speaks to the effectiveness of the protocols that are in place for health staff returning from West Africa,” he said.

The US has treated nine victims of the virus, which spreads through contact with infected bodily fluids.

A total of 289 people in New York continue to be monitored for possible Ebola symptoms, including Spencer’s fiancee and staff who helped treat the doctor.

The Gambia, which remains Ebola-free, announced Tuesday it had re-opened its land borders to travellers from Sierra Leone and the other Ebola-hit nations.

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Tags : spread, virus, prevent, fights, death, Ebola, confirms, Mali

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