Health officials in Mali are now investigating new suspected cases of Ebola in the country. The deadly virus is said to be spreading from Guinea to Mali and according to health officials, the country is still waiting for test results from samples sent to laboratories in the United States. The officials also revealed that three patients had been isolated for further observation to find out whether they are suffering from the deadly virus or not.
The outbreak had been confirmed in Guinea late last month where it claimed more than 84 lives. Two people also died from Ebola-related complications in neighboring Liberia. The Central African region has always been the main hotspots for Ebola virus but the recent cases in Guinea and Mali are the first of their kind in the two countries.
Government officials in Bamako have started using thermal imaging techniques to detect travelers with high fevers. They also warned the local citizens against non-essential travelling to avoid further spread of the virus. The recent outbreak has sent most West African countries into panic mode as they seek to prevent the deadly virus from crossing into their borders. The virus is usually spread through close contact with infected persons therefore leading to high fever, muscle pain, diarrhea, vomiting, organ failure and even death. At the moment, there is no known cure for it. .
The current outbreak that seems to be spreading like wildfire from Guinea to Mali was discovered in Nzerekore, Guinea’s southeastern region. However, for six good weeks, health officials had not confirmed the virus as Ebola. This is one of the many reasons why it spread faster and killed so many people within a short period of time.
In response to the outbreak, neighboring Senegal has decided to close its border with Guinea. The West African country does not wish to suffer the same consequences like Liberia and Sierra Leone. The restricted movement is set to reduce the number of infections by a huge percentage mainly because this virus can only be spread through close contact, touching the deceased or exchange of body fluids.
Saudi Arabia has also announced the suspension of visas for Muslim pilgrims from Liberia and Guinea. This move is meant to decrease the spread of the deadly virus that causes haemorrhagic fever.
Some Guineans have reportedly locked themselves indoors to avoid social activities such as handshakes with their sick counterparts. Handshaking or hugging in Africa is a sign of social interaction between two parties and these are some of the major factors that contribute to the spread of Ebola. The government, under the ministry of health, has also banned the consumption of bats and bush meat, which are considered carriers of the highly-contagious virus. Bats and other types of bush meat are common delicacies in most West African nations and their recent ban is set to affect the usual diet of the local residents.
After hearing the reports of the deadly Ebola virus spreading from Guinea to Mali, some Malians have also stopped attending funerals. This comes just a few days after Air Mauritania, one of the leading airlines in the region, refused to fly Guineans citing Ebola-related reasons.
By Andrew Wandola