To add to increasing fears of the Ebola virus in West Africa, Mali has reported that there are three suspected cases of the virus in the capital city of Bamako. The virus is rapidly spreading along the African coastline and has already caused the confirmed death of 84 people, suspected death of 11, and has left countless others in a state of hysteria. The virus has a 90 percent fatality rate, and with no vaccine or cure, officials are working around the clock to prevent any further spread.
Health officials in Mali say they are investigating three suspected cases of Ebola in their capital of Bamako. Samples have been sent to the United States for confirmation. For now, the three suspected patients have been placed in isolation as a safety precaution. “Everyone should be vigilant and aware of what is going on. But we need to wait for the results to confirm if it is Ebola,” WHO spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic told the BBC.
The BBC reports that Mali is now placing stricter control on its borders. Thermal imaging cameras are being used to screen airports for incoming passengers that may have fevers. Senegal has completely closed off its once busy border with Guinea. On Tuesday, Saudi Arabia suspended visas for Muslim pilgrims from Guinea. In an effort to stop the spread of the virus within its own border, Guinea has outlawed the sale and consumption of bats. Bats, which are a local delicacy in the area, are believed to be the natural carriers of the Ebola virus, although they do not show any symptoms.
The current Ebola virus outbreak began last month in Guinea’s remote southeastern region of Nzérékoré, although it took six weeks before it was confirmed. To date, it has caused the confirmed death of at least 84 individuals, The Washington Post reported. The majority of deaths have occurred in the Nzérékoré region. The outbreak recently spread to the Guinean capital of Conakry, with reports of 12 suspected cases and five confirmed deaths. In neighboring Liberia, there are two confirmations of the virus, with one victim already deceased. However, there are six more people suspected of contracting the virus, five of whom have already died. Health officials are also investigating whether five people in Sierra Leone have died of the virus. There were two scares of the virus leaving the continent with suspected cases in Canada and France, from passengers traveling on planes from Africa. However, both cases have tested negative.
According to the World Health Organization, the Ebola virus has a fatality rate of 90 percent. It is transmitted to people from wild animals and spread through human-to-human contact of bodily secretions. This is the first time the virus has spread in West Africa. Prior cases have usually affected central Africa, in countries such as Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The virus leads to hemorrhagic fever and causes muscle pain, weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, and in the most severe cases, organ failure and unstoppable bleeding.