Enhanced Ebola screening set for Mali travelers
WASHINGTON — The United States is adding Mali to the list of countries whose travelers get special Ebola screening because of a number of cases in the West African nation, the government said Sunday.
Enhanced screening will start Monday for the 15 to 20 travelers who arrive daily from Mali, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Homeland Security said.
“The CDC recommended this measure because there have been a number of confirmed cases of Ebola in Mali in recent days, and a large number of individuals may have been exposed to those cases,” it said.
The decision occurs as a surgeon from Sierra Leone is being treated for Ebola in a Nebraska hospital. Medical officials said Saturday he was critically ill after being airlifted from West Africa.
There are no direct flights from Mali to the United States. Mali joins Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia as countries whose travelers have enhanced entry screening, health and Ebola assessments upon arrival in the United States.
An imam, or Muslim religious leader, from neighboring Guinea died in Mali in late October. The sick man was never tested, but his case led to a chain of confirmed deaths in Mali from Ebola, including a nurse who treated him and a woman who washed his dead body.
Authorities are trying to trace more than 400 potential fresh contacts. Mali had appeared to have contained its first Ebola case, a girl who died in October.
Mali is the sixth country to have confirmed Ebola in West Africa, which is battling the world’s worst epidemic of the hemorrhagic fever on record. Ebola has claimed more than 5,000 victims, almost all of them from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.