A West African outbreak of Ebola may have spread into Mali after three suspected cases of the deadly hemorrhagic fever were reported there.
The Ebola outbreak has already killed more than 80 people in Guinea and at least two in neighboring Liberia.
Mali's health minister, Ousmane Kone, said Thursday three suspected Ebola cases have been reported in the country, according to news reports.
Kone said samples have been collected and send abroad for for analysis by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The test results will be made public as soon as they are known.
The three people suspected with Ebola are isolated and receiving medication, according the AFP, which added that Mali's government said the patients' condition was improving.
Ebola is one of the world's most deadly diseases, with a mortality rate has high as 90 percent for some strains, according to the World Health Organization.
Guinea has been facing the bulk of the trouble from the Ebola outbreak. The CDC, which sent workers to Guinea to assist in treating the outbreak, reports 127 suspected or confirmed cases of Ebola in Guinea. At least 83 people in Guinea have died from Ebola, which causes a severe, high fever resulting in hemorrhage of internal organs and into the skin. Other symptoms of Ebola include extreme weakness, muscle pain and headaches, followed by vomiting diarrhea, rash, impaired kidney and liver functions, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding, according to a WHO fact sheet.
According to Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without Boarders) the outbreak in Guinea features the most aggressive and deadly strain of Ebola, the Zaire strain.
This is the first major outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, but major outbreaks have occurred in Central Africa including Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The suspected cases of Ebola in Libera do not appear connected to the outbreak in Guinea, according to Al Jazeera.
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