Two-Year-Old Girl Dies in Mali's First Ebola Case

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A health worker in protective equipment carries a sample taken from the body of someone who is suspected to have died from Ebola virus, near Rokupa Hospital, Freetown October 6, 2014. Christopher Black/WHO/Handout via Reuters

A two-year-old girl is the first person to die from Ebola in Mali, the sixth African country touched by the deadly virus.

Mali reported its first Ebola case on October 23, a day after the girl was admitted to hospital. She had been showing symptoms of the virus, including bleeding from the nose and secreting body fluids during a 600-mile journey on public buses from the Kissidougou district of Guinea to Kayes, in western Mali. Mali has been considered a high-risk country as it shares its border with Guinea, where 926 have died from deadliest Ebola outbreak in history, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The girl was travelling with her grandmother and the 24-hour trip passed through the Malian capital of Bamako, where they stayed for around two hours. . It is likely the girl, who died on October 24, came into contact with many people on the journey. The WHO is treating the situation in Mali as an emergency, the group said Friday.

"Bleeding from the nose began while both were still in Guinea, meaning that the child was symptomatic during their travels through Mali ... multiple opportunities for exposure occurred when the child was visibly symptomatic," the WHO said in a statement.

43 people the girl came into contact with, including 10 healthcare workers, are being monitored. A team of WHO staff was already in Mali to assess the country's readiness to handle Ebola.

The death of Mali's first Ebola patient coincides with the news that Ebola cases have now surpassed 10,000, with the mortality rate nearing 50 percent, according to the latest figures from WHO published on Saturday. 4,922 have died from the disease.

Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea have seen the majority of cases and deaths from Ebola. Although eight countries in total have dealt with Ebola cases, only 27 have occurred outside of those three countries, resulting in 10 deaths, according to the WHO.

Total figures of deaths and cases are likely to be underestimates "because many people in the worst-affected countries have been unable or too frightened to seek medical care," the Guardian reports. 450 healthcare workers have been infected with Ebola and more than half of them have died from the virus.

The White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have repeatedly said that the stopping Ebola at its source in West Africa is a priority for protecting Americans, so the situation in Mali must be watched carefully. As The Washington Post points out, "opening another front in Mali could be a big problem."

But after Dr Craig Spencer, a healthcare worker with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the French medical aid organization otherwise known as Doctors Without Borders, who recently returned to New York City from Guinea, contracted Ebola, the governors of New York and New Jersey announced Friday anyone entering those two states who had direct contact with Ebola patients in West Africa will face a mandatory 21-day quarantine.

A female healthcare worker who also worked with Ebola patients with MSF was the first person to be quarantined under the new rules, but tested negative for the disease, the New Jersey Department of Health said Saturday.