Ebola spreads to Senegal


The Ebola virus has spread to Senegal, the country’s health ministry confirmed Friday.

Senegal’s first case was a Guinean student who showed up for treatment at a hospital in the capital Dakar on Tuesday, Senegal’s Health Minister, Awa Marie Coll Seck, told reporters.

She said the man had denied having contact with Ebola victims in his home country, when indeed, he had escaped surveillance and Guinean authorities had searched for him for the three weeks.

The minister said tests at the Pasteur Institute in Dakar proved he had the virus. The man has been quarantined.

“We are tracing his whole itinerary and also identifying anyone who had contact with the patient who now that he has been diagnosed is much more cooperative and supplied all the necessary information,” the minister was quoted by Reuters as saying.

Ebola has infected more than 3,000 people since the latest outbreak started March in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and lately Nigeria and Congo.

More than half of those infected have died. The outbreak of the virus is the worst ever since it was discovered in 1976.

On Thursday, the World Health Organization, WHO, warned that up to 20,000 people may be infected before the outbreak is brought under control, and that the deaths may be up to four times higher.

Senegal last week banned flights with Guinea. Liberia and Sierra Leone, in an effort to curb the spread of Ebola. Senegal also shut its land border with Guinea.

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