In the 2005 adventure film "Sahara", treasure hunter Dirk Pitt is tracking down a Confederate ironclad named the CSS Texas, believing it to have sailed up the Niger River to an unknown location. He speaks to a priest at Labbezanga and they find the following record from the time:
Six days after the great storm, a dark ship rode without sails under the banner of a single star. It was driven upriver, never to return, bearing... death. It brought a sickness from here up to Gao, and bore over 300 souls to heaven. It was believed a damnation from Allah.
At the same time, WHO doctor Eva Rojas is investigating a plague-like sickness originating in Mali. We later find that the sickness is being caused by
illegal storage of toxic materials underneath a solar energy plant in Mali.
I haven't read the Clive Cussler novels, so I'm not familiar with the book version of events. Obviously the Texas wasn't carrying that same sickness, however.
What was the nature of the sickness carried by the CSS Texas?