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The West African country of Mali has reported two more cases of Ebola. This time the virus killed a nurse who treated an infected Guinean man. And health officials are worried about more cases because of an elaborate funeral for one of the victims.
The two cases are not related to the death last month of a 2-year-old child with Ebola. But they also spread across the border from Guinea, the epicenter of a worsening epidemic of Ebola in West Africa. And they show how the virus can spread despite precautions.
The first case was a 70-year-old man living in a town along Guinea’s border with Mali. He was sick, but no one tested him for Ebola. “On 25 October, he traveled by car, together with four family members to seek treatment at the Pasteur Clinic in Bamako,” the World Health Organization said in a statement.
He died on Oct. 27. The nurse who died treated him at the clinic, not knowing he had Ebola.
“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.”
It’s just these types of funerals that have been spreading Ebola in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. “Intensive contact tracing is under way in both countries, with support from WHO, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), MSF (Doctors Without Borders), and other international partners,” WHO said.
Ebola has infected more than 14,000 people and killed more than 5,000 of them. WHO says.