Preventing the Spread of Ebola in Mali and Senegal


This map shows Mali and Senegal in relation to Guinea. Courtesy of Encyclopedia Britannica

Because Mali and Senegal both share land borders with Guinea, they were considered among the countries most at risk for importation of Ebola. Both countries experienced cases: Mali saw eight cases (seven laboratory-confirmed) and six deaths after a child arriving from Guinea died of Ebola, followed by a cluster of cases linked to a person from the Mali-Guinea border who had previously-undiagnosed Ebola. Senegal experienced one confirmed imported case and no deaths.

In response, CDC, in collaboration with WHO, provided technical assistance similar to that given to Nigeria by helping to establish EOCs, and by assisting with Ebola surveillance. Other help included contact tracing, laboratory specimen transport, and testing, isolation of patients suspected of having Ebola, health communication messages, and border health security.

Mali Case Definitions

Ebola case definitions job-aid in French and Bambara
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Ebola Case Definitions in French and Bambara, Mali December 3, 2014

In November 2014, there was no standardized guidance about Ebola in Mali, and many inaccurate reports were submitted through hotlines and other mechanisms. In response, CDC epidemiologists serving on a joint response epidemiology team with WHO and other partners formed a committee to decide upon a standardized case definition for Mali. The committee then laminated a simple job-aid in French and Bambara, the local language, and presented multiple copies to Dr. Samba Sow, the head of the Ebola response in Mali.

Moriarty, Leah

Leah Moriarty

Leah Moriarty discusses being a part of the first group of CDC responders in Mali during the Ebola outbreak. (Transcript)

Thwing, Julie

Dr. Julie Thwing

Dr. Julie Thwing, the only CDC staff member stationed permanently in Senegal when an Ebola case was confirmed in-country, explains what success means in terms of controlling Ebola. (Transcript)