Mali announces new Ebola case as World Bank calls outbreak "worrisome"

Children watch as a health worker sprays disinfectants outside a mosque in Bamako November 14, 2014. Mali announced Saturday a new case of Ebola in a man who is fighting for his life in an intensive care unit in the capital Bamako. --PHOTO: REUTERS

BAMAKO (AFP) - Mali announced Saturday a new case of Ebola in a man who is fighting for his life in an intensive care unit in the capital Bamako.

"Among two suspected cases who were being tested, one was found negative, the other positive. He was placed in an isolation unit for intensive treatment," the health ministry said in a statement.

Mali, the newest country to be caught up in the epidemic, recorded its seventh Ebola death on Thursday. So far no one who has contracted the deadly tropical pathogen in the West African country has survived.

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim warned Friday that despite gains against the deadly epidemic the new outbreak in Mali was "very worrisome".

"We must get to zero cases. Ebola is not a disease where you can leave a few cases and say you've done enough," he said at a summit on the epidemic with the leaders of the United Nations, World Health Organisation and the International Monetary Fund.

The contagion entered Mali in October when a two-year-old girl who had come from Guinea died in the western town of Kayes, without spreading the virus any further.

Three weeks later an Islamic cleric, also from Guinea, died in the capital Bamako, transmitting the virus, directly or indirectly, to at least five people, all of whom have now also died.

The health ministry said 310 people were under surveillance as a result of that chain of transmission.

Around 5,500 people have died this year in the west African Ebola outbreak - almost all in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia - among more than 15,000 infected.

Ebola, one of the deadliest viruses known to man, is spread through direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person showing symptoms such as fever or vomiting.

People caring for the sick or handling the bodies of the infected are particularly vulnerable.

Recent data have shown a decline in cases in Liberia, the worst-hit country, and Guinea, but last week, 533 new cases were reported in Sierra Leone - the highest weekly tally since the epidemic began in that country.

The head of the UN Ebola mission warned that the world was "far, far away" from beating the deadly outbreak and said a huge increase in aid was needed to fight the virus in Africa.