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New Ebola case confirmed in Mali


Health care centres have been set up to screen for the Ebola virus (AP)

Health care centres have been set up to screen for the Ebola virus (AP)

Health care centres have been set up to screen for the Ebola virus (AP)

Mali has confirmed a new case of Ebola and said two more suspected patients are being tested, raising concern about a further spread of the disease which has already killed at least five people in the country.

The patient who tested positive "was placed in an isolation centre for intensive treatment," said a government statement distributed on Saturday. No details about the patient were provided.

Mali officials are monitoring 310 people to limit the spread of the disease, said the statement.

Mali's five confirmed Ebola deaths are linked to a 70-year-old imam who was brought to the capital, Bamako, from Guinea, where the regional Ebola epidemic first began.

At a regional meeting in September, officials identified more than a dozen countries in West and Central Africa that were at risk of being affected by the ongoing outbreak, the worst ever recorded.

"The new cases in Mali remind us that no country in the region is immune to Ebola," Manuel Fontaine, Unicef regional director for West and Central Africa, said.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says more than 5,400 people have died in the current outbreak, mostly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Also on Saturday, more than 30 NHS staffers, including general practitioners and nurses, arrived in Sierra Leone amid widespread concern about the worsening situation there.

They were expected to stay in Freetown, the capital, for one week of training before moving to treatment centres across the country, the Department for International Development said in a statement.

They join nearly 1,000 British soldiers, scientists and aid workers already in the country participating in the Ebola fight, International Development Secretary Justine Greening said.

Sierra Leone has recorded more than 1,200 Ebola deaths, and only 13% of Sierra Leone's Ebola patients were being isolated, according to a WHO report released this week.