- Associated Press - Friday, August 29, 2014

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — A man infected with Ebola traveled to Senegal, bringing to the country the first confirmed case of the dreaded disease that has hit four other West African nations and killed more than 1,500 people, the Ministry of Health said Friday.

The infected person, a university student from Guinea, sought treatment at a hospital in Senegal’s capital, Dakar, on Tuesday but gave no indication he might have Ebola, Health Minister Awa Marie Coll Seck told reporters. The next day, an epidemiological surveillance team in Guinea alerted Senegalese authorities that they had lost track of a person who had had contact with sick people. The team said that the person disappeared three weeks ago and may have come to Senegal.

The student was tracked to the hospital in Dakar that same day and was immediately quarantined, Seck said.


PHOTOS: Ebola arrives in Senegal as outbreak accelerates


A test has confirmed that he has Ebola, and the World Health Organization has been alerted.

It is not clear how or when the young man came to Senegal, which closed its border with Guinea last week. Seck said his condition is “satisfactory.”

The Ebola outbreak ravaging West Africa began last year in Guinea. Since then, the disease has spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. More than 3,000 people have contracted the disease, which is spread by bodily fluids and for which there is no licensed treatment or vaccine. A separate Ebola outbreak was reported this week in Congo, where 13 people have died from the disease.

The arrival of the dreaded disease in Senegal, which is a tourist destination and whose capital is a major transportation hub for the region, underscores that the outbreak remains out of control, despite efforts by the World Health Organization, Doctors Without Borders and other organizations.

WHO on Friday said the past week has seen the highest increase of cases - more than 500 - since the outbreak began.

Dr. Tom Frieden, the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, warned that more needs to be done to avoid the worst.

“Emergency action needs to be taken to reverse the situation to avoid a catastrophe,” he said during a visit to Sierra Leone.

WHO, which is the U.N. health agency, has warned that the disease could eventually infect 20,000 people, and unveiled a plan Thursday to stop transmission in the next six to nine months.

But a top official from Doctors Without Borders, which is running many of the Ebola treatment centers, said the agency wasn’t doing enough.

“The World Health Organization can’t handle” the outbreak, Mego Terzian, the group’s president for France, told France Inter radio. “I don’t see how, with the current measures, we’re going to control the outbreak.”

He called for a far greater response from the international community, saying the U.N. Security Council should take up the matter and noting that there are countries with military medical units that could be useful.

In a detailed report Friday, WHO said more than 500 cases were recorded over the past week, by far the worst toll of any week so far. The week before, around 400 new cases were reported.

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