Mali steps up border controls after Ebola case arrives from Guinea

Mali said it has reinforced health controls in the country but has no plans to close its frontiers, after a man with Ebola arrived from Guinea and infected others, including a nurse who has died of the virus. President Ibrahim Keïta also urged the World Health Organisation (WHO) and health services in Mali and neighbouring states to set up a permanent information exchange, to disseminate information about public health and hygiene.

The worst outbreak of the virus on record has claimed at least 5,160 lives in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, and has led to a global watch for cases outside the region.

“The President has asked the Prime Minister to urgently look at the entire system put in place to fight Ebola and to strengthen health controls at the different frontier posts,’’ a government statement said.

The nurse’s death on Tuesday prompted the quarantine of over 90 people, including U.N. peacekeepers.

However, in its first case, a two-month-old girl infected with Ebola in Guinea arrived in Mali and died in October.

Mali must now trace others who had contact with the nurse and three others infected, just as an initial group of people linked to the girl completed their 21-day quarantine on Tuesday.

Ebola’s maximum incubation period is 21 days.

Senior health ministry official, Ousmane Doumbia, told journalists that the government was keeping borders open, in line with WHO guidelines.

The WHO said there were now four confirmed and probable Ebola deaths in Mali.

A doctor at the Pasteur Clinic, where the nurse worked, is also suspected of having contracted Ebola.

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