A toddler who introduced the Ebola virus to Mali has died, a health official says. 

The health official, who asked not to be named, said she died in the western Malian town of Kayes.

There was no immediate official comment from health authorities, but Oumar Sylla, a resident of Kayes, said local radio stations were reporting the death.

The girl, 2, had travelled from neighbouring Guinea with her grandmother.

The toddler died in an isolation tent at a hospital in the western city of Kayes on Friday, according to a nurse at the facility, who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

The World Health Organization said Friday that it is treating the situation in Mali as an emergency.

When the girl was admitted to hospital on Tuesday, she had a fever of 39 C, a cough, bleeding from the nose and blood in the stools. Test results were negative for malaria but positive for typhoid fever, the UN health agency said. Further testing confirmed Ebola virus as the cause of illness yesterday. 

The child showed symptoms during her a bus journey in Mali, which WHO called "especially concerning, as it presented multiple opportunities for exposures — including high-risk exposures — involving many people."

So far, investigators have identified 43 close and unprotected contacts, including 10 health-care workers, who are being monitored in isolation.

An initial investigation showed extensive travel by the girl and her grandmother, who travelled from her home in Mali to a funeral in southern Guinea.

The WHO said it was trying to confirm media reports that the funeral was for the girl's mother, who is said to have shown Ebola-like symptoms before death.

Mali becomes the sixth West African country to report an Ebola case. The majority of cases and deaths have been in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

Senegal and Nigeria have had imported cases of Ebola. Both have since been declared Ebola-free.

The World Health Organization says the disease has killed at least 4,877 people and infected 9,936. The actual number of cases is believed to be higher.

With files from The Associated Press and CBC News