BAMAKO/GENEVA (Reuters) - Mali is tracing at least 200 contacts linked to confirmed and probable Ebola victims as it seeks to control its second Ebola outbreak, health officials said on Friday.
An initial batch of contacts linked to a two-year-old from Guinea who died of Ebola last month were close to finishing their 21-day quarantine period when Mali confirmed its second case this week.
At least four more suspected Ebola deaths have occurred, all linked to an imam who entered Mali from neighbouring Guinea and died late last month with Ebola-like symptoms that were not recognised.
Health Ministry spokesman Marakatie Dow said that a woman who had helped wash the imam's body died on Thursday at Bamako's Gabriel Toure Hospital.
Dow said an initial Ebola test result for the woman was positive, making her the fourth clinically confirmed Malian case, although further analysis would be carried out abroad. "There are 200 contacts if we add those linked to the case of the woman yesterday," Dow told Reuters.
A World Health Organisation spokesman said more than 250 contacts were being traced across four locations.
These included the Pasteur Clinic where the imam was treated - not connected to the Institut Pasteur, a French-based international public health institute specialising in infectious diseases - as well as a house in Bamako that he visited and the home of a nurse who treated him and died.
Mali is the sixth nation to have confirmed Ebola in West Africa, which is battling the world's worst epidemic of the haemorrhagic fever. At least 5,160 people have been killed since it erupted in March.
Mali shares an 800-km border with Guinea, where the first case of Ebola in the region was reported.