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Message for U.S. Citizens: Bamako (Mali), Ebola Virus Disease (Update)

Africa > Mali

The U.S. Embassy in Mali is issuing this message to update U.S. citizens on Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in West Africa.  While there have still been no cases of EVD in Mali, the outbreaks of EVD in West Africa have caused many deaths and been associated with severe disruption of activities in the affected countries.  This message is to provide reliable sources of relevant information regarding EVD infections.

The U.S. Embassy encourages citizens to remain vigilant and practice the basic precautionary measures outlined below.  The risk to the general population, and U.S. citizens in particular, remains low.

While Ebola is a dangerous virus, we remind the community that the risk of contracting the infection is minimal if basic precautionary measures are followed.  Ebola is not spread through the air by respiratory secretions or casual contact like the flu or the common cold.  It requires direct contact with the bodily fluids (especially vomit, blood, and feces) of someone severely ill with—or recently deceased from—the disease, or by handling or eating undercooked, contaminated bush meat, especially bats, monkeys, gorillas, and some antelope.  The illness is not contagious from person-to-person until the sick person has symptoms, such as fever, vomiting or diarrhea.  A person with early EVD could travel without being aware of illness, develop symptoms during travel and potentially put others at risk.  The recent case imported to Nigeria from Liberia actually was aware he was ill when he boarded the plane and he became progressively sicker through his flights.  Despite how ill he was in transit, there have been no additional cases from the flight; all those infected in Nigeria took care of the patient after he landed in Lagos in the airport or hospital.  Concern about the possibility of travelers carrying the disease has led to some flight cancellations, screenings for fever at some international airports, and even some border closings in the region of the outbreaks.  

We urge you to wash your hands frequently, protect yourself through proper equipment (including gloves, gowns, masks, and goggles) if you are a healthcare worker, and avoid eating bush meat.

The U.S. Embassy in Bamako continues to operate normally 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. 

On July 30, 2014, the U.S. Peace Corps announced that its volunteers would be temporarily withdrawn from Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued Travel Health Warnings for Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, advising against nonessential travel, and has provided guidance to reduce the potential for spread of EVD.  The CDC has also issued a Travel Alert for Nigeria, recommending that travelers practice enhanced precautions to protect their health.  To obtain these Travel Health Warnings and Alerts, visittravel.state.gov and the CDC website, or call the CDC at 1-404-639-3534 from overseas or 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636) from within the United States.  For more information on EVD, please visit the CDC's website on the virus.

Unfortunately, the healthcare resources in some of the affected regions have been overwhelmed or are unavailable.  In communities where isolation centers are available and functioning, the spread of EVD has been largely contained.  Especially in remote areas of Sierra Leone and Liberia, there has been community resistance against healthcare workers (and fear of isolation centers) leading to significant spread of the disease.  On August 7 and 14, respectively, the State Department ordered the departure from Liberia and Sierra Leone of all eligible family members not employed by the Embassies there.  This was done out of an abundance of caution, following the determination by the State Department’s Medical Office that there is a lack of options for routine health care services at major medical facilities in those countries due to the EVD outbreak.As the number of cases in our region increases, the likelihood increases that EVD cases will be detected in Mali.  The Government of Mali has developed a response plan to suspected cases.

We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Mali enroll in the Department of State's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).  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.

For the latest security information, U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs website where you can find the current Worldwide Caution and travel information, including the Travel Warning for Mali, and Country Specific Information. Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well. In addition to information on the internet, travelers may obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, from other countries, on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444.  These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, Eastern Time (except U.S. federal holidays).

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 consularbamako@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.