Ebola Strikes Mali Just as Vaccination Effort Gets Under Way

Saturday, November 15, 2014
By Paul Martin

An imam crosses the border while ill with Ebola, potentially sparking an outbreak.

Karen Weintraub
National Geographic
November 15, 2014

Public health officials in Mali are scrambling to trace over 200 people who may have been in contact with a religious leader who died of Ebola there this week. The 70-year-old imam had crossed the border from Guinea, where the current West African outbreak began last December and has now infected more than 14,000 and killed at least 5,000. (Related: “From Senegal and Nigeria, 4 Lessons on How to Stop Ebola.”)

His caregivers in Bamako, Mali’s capital, failed to recognize that he was infected with the deadly virus, and many people came to visit the religious leader while he was ill. After his death, his body was cleaned, again without realizing the risk for contagion.

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