Nov 11, 2014 2:07 PM
Mali: No new Ebola cases, family ends quarantine
The Associated Press
BAMAKO, Mali (AP) Mali is making headway in preventing the spread of Ebola, as it has not registered any new cases since a toddler traveling from Guinea became the country's first case last month, authorities said Tuesday.
The child's death on Oct. 24 is Mali's only known Ebola case, while nearly 5,000 others have succumbed to the virus across West Africa.
Nearly 30 members of a family that was visited by the 2-year-old girl who later died of Ebola have now been released from a 21-day quarantine after they showed no symptoms of the disease, Malian health officials said.
The family is now free to move about, health department spokesman Markatie Daou said. The girl, Fanta Kone, visited their home with her grandmother in the capital, Bamako, and the toddler succumbed to the virus soon after.
People with Ebola are only contagious when they are showing symptoms, and health officials have said that the girl was bleeding from her nose when she passed through the capital en route to the western city of Kayes where she died.
Mali is not completely clear yet as about 50 others who had possible contact with the girl remain under observation in Kayes. They will be released from quarantine on Nov. 16 if they don't show symptoms, Daou said.
Mali, which shares a porous land border with Guinea, has long been seen as vulnerable to Ebola because of the large number of people moving back and forth between the two countries.
The girl's case alarmed health authorities because she is believed to have been contagious as she traveled.
The World Health Organization has said that the girl had been living in Guinea, where other members of her family are believed to have also died from Ebola including her father. The girl's mother, grandmother and two siblings aged 3 months and 5 years appear not to have contracted the virus.
Mali's persistent use of "contact tracing, isolation and monitoring" helped to prevent the spread of Ebola, said WHO.
In Sierra Leone, one of the countries hardest hit by the outbreak, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair met with officials on Tuesday and urged the international community not to let up the fight against the disease.
"More beds, more medical personnel and laboratory testing need to be done, faster, to be on top of this situation," said Blair, who founded the Africa Governance Initiative to help leaders make reforms and meet development goals.
Meanwhile, authorities in Liberia have released an update on their investigation into the fatal shooting of 16-year-old Shaki Kamara last August during the quarantine of a slum in the capital.
While the government said it didn't find conclusive evidence that military personnel had fired the fatal shot, they sanctioned a platoon commander saying he "should have been able to handle simple crowd control and dispersal."
He and four other servicemen could face detention or correctional custody and a reduction in rank following the government's findings.
The commissioner of the township, known as West Point, is also being reassigned, the Liberian government said.
Associated Press writers Jonathan Paye-Layleh in Monrovia, Liberia, and Clarence Roy-Macaulay in Freetown, Sierra Leone, contributed to this report.