Mali, which just recently announced itself Ebola-free after defeating its first outbreak, has confirmed a larger outbreak that poses a greater threat.
The first case in this second Ebola outbreak was a 70-year-old grand imam, a religious figure, who became infected in Guinea and traveled to Mali for better treatment at a private clinic in the country’s capital, Bamako, the New York Times reported.
The man died on October 27 and his body was washed at a Bamako mosque before it was returned to Guinea. The Pasteur Clinic did not diagnose Ebola as the underlying cause of his kidney failure, however, with no tests done for Ebola, according to the World Health Organization.
[quote text_size=”small” author=”– World Health Organization”]
Because of his religious status as a Grand Imam, his body was transported to a mosque in Bamako for a ritual washing ceremony. The body was then returned to the native village of Kourémalé for formal funeral and burial ceremonies. Although these events are still under investigation, WHO staff assume that many mourners attended the ceremonies.
According to WHO, it is funerals and other ceremonies like this that have helped Ebola spread in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, NBC News reported.
Health officials only discovered the man was infectious after a 25-year-old nurse at the clinic became ill and died. The chief WHO representative in Mali then heard from counterparts in Guinea that the man’s family members were also ill and dying.
The clinic has now been placed under quarantine, along with the mosque, a second clinic where the man was treated and the family compound where the nurse lived.
Over 90 people, including UN peaceworkers, have now been placed under quarantine, Reuters reported. The World Health Organization has confirmed four confirmed and probable Ebola deaths in the country. A doctor at the Pasteur Clinic is suspected of contracting Ebola, along with a friend who visited the man in the hospital.
The Ebola virus has now infected over 14,000 people and killed over 5,000 globally.