More than 90 people have already died in Guinea and Liberia in what Medecins Sans Frontieres has warned could turn into an unprecedented epidemic.
The outbreak in Guinea is the first time the disease, epidemics of which occur regularly in Central Africa, has appeared in the country.
News of the outbreak has sent shockwaves through communities with little knowledge of the disease, and the suspected cases in Mali have added to fears that it is spreading in West Africa.
In a statement broadcast on state television, Mali’s government announced that three people had been placed in quarantine and samples sent off to Atlanta in the United States for tests.
Ebola, which has killed about 1,500 people since first discovered in 1976 in what is now Democratic Republic of Congo, causes vomiting, diarrhoea and external bleeding. It has a fatality rate of up to 90 per cent.