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Mali confirms first Ebola case: a 2-year-old girl

Mali confirmed its first case of Ebola late Thursday, making it the sixth West African country to get the disease this year. The BBC has reported that the case involves a 2-year-old girl.

The World Health Organization has not yet analyzed and confirmed the case. But it's not especially surprising that the virus has spread to Mali given the country shares a border with Guinea, where the outbreak originated and continues to spread out of control. 

Mali — along with the the Ivory Coast — has been considered by the World Health Organization one the countries at greatest risk of getting Ebola. Reuters reported that Mali and Ivory Coast were "the top priorities on the WHO's list of 15 African countries that need to be prepared for an Ebola case."

worldwide confirmed cases of ebola
To learn more, read our cardstack 13 things you need to know about Ebola.

Spread of the disease to other countries has been seen by health officials as an inevitability as the number of cases in West Africa continues to rise exponentially.

The hope is that local health authorities, working with the WHO, will have the capacity to respond to this case.

Two other countries in West Africa that had Ebola cases this year — Nigeria and Senegal — managed to contain them through fast and aggressive responses. After 41 days of no new cases, they were recently declared virus-free.

This year, there have been nearly 10,000 Ebola cases and nearly 5,000 deaths.