Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Confirmed Case of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)

U.S. Embassy Bamako, Mali

Yesterday the Government of Mali confirmed the first case of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) diagnosed in Mali.  The affected child traveled by ground transportation with a family member from Guinea to Mali, passing through Bamako and then on to Kayes, where she was diagnosed, has been quarantined and is receiving medical treatment.  Malian government reports indicate that the child was in Bamako’s Bagadadji neighborhood for less than one day.  The Malian authorities have reported that they have isolated 42 people who were in contact with the child, including 10 health workers.  A Malian rapid response team has been deployed to Kayes, where public schools have been closed.  The U.S. Embassy continues to monitor the situation closely and to support the efforts of Mali’s Ministry of Health in its public health response.

The U.S. Embassy encourages U.S. citizens to remain vigilant and practice the basic precautionary measures outlined below.  While EVD is a dangerous virus, we remind the community that there is low risk of contracting the infection if basic precautionary measures are followed.  EVD is not spread by respiratory secretions or casual contact like the flu.  It requires direct contact with the bodily fluids of someone severely ill with – or recently deceased from – the disease, or by handling or eating undercooked, contaminated bush meat.

Below are some of the more important points about transmission of EVD and precautions to protect you:

  • Initial signs and symptoms of EVD include sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache, and sore throat.  This may progress to vomiting, diarrhea, and external or internal bleeding.
  • Human to human transmission is only achieved by physical contact with the body fluids of a person who is acutely ill or who has died from EVD.
  • When a person is sick, it is possible to contract the virus by coming into contact with his or her blood and body fluids (to include vomit, feces, urine, breast milk, semen, and sweat).
  • Transmission among humans is mainly among caregiver family members or health care workers tending to the very ill, or in preparation of the body of a deceased case for burial.
  • The virus is killed by contact with soap, bleach, sunlight, or drying.  A washing machine and use of detergent will kill the virus in clothing contaminated with infected body fluids.
  • A person can have the virus without symptoms for two to 21 days, the average being five to eight days before becoming ill.  The person is not contagious until they are acutely ill.
  • As always, practice good hand hygiene and hand washing techniques.
  • If a person has possibly been in contact with someone who has known or suspected EVD infection and develops symptoms or signs of infection, he or she should seek medical care immediately.
  • Seeking medical care quickly increases the chance of survival.

The U.S. Embassy continues operations as normal and is closely monitoring the situation in collaboration with local, national, and international partners.  Our embassies in neighboring countries including Guinea, Ivory Coast, Liberia, and Sierra Leone are collectively tracking the disease and sharing information as it becomes available.

To obtain Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) travel notices, call the CDC at 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636) from within the United States, or 1-404-639-3534 from overseas, or visit the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/travel.  For more information on EVD, please visit the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola.

We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Mali despite the Travel Warning enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at travel.state.gov.  STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in an emergency.  If you do not have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Regularly monitor the State Department’s website, where you can find current Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution.  Read the Country Specific Information for Mali.  For additional information, refer to the “Traveler’s Checklist” on the State Department’s website.

Contact the U.S. embassy or consulate for up-to-date information on travel restrictions.  You can also call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries.  These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).  Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to have travel information at your fingertips.

The U.S. Embassy in Bamako is located at ACI 2000, Rue 243 Porte 297.  The Consular Section can be contacted at +223 2070 2505, or via email at acsbamako@state.gov.  If you are a U.S. citizen in need of urgent assistance, please contact the Embassy Duty Officer via the Marine Guard at +223 2070 2301 or 2070 2302.