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Ebola outbreak reaches Senegal

By on August 29, 2014

The West African state of Senegal became the fifth country to be touched by the world’s worst Ebola outbreak on Friday.

The World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Thursday the actual number of cases could be up to four times higher and said that a total of 20,000 people could be infected before the outbreak ends.

Senegal’s Health Minister Awa Marie Coll Seck said the country’s first case was a Guinean student who turned up for treatment at a hospital in the capital Dakar on Tuesday, concealing the fact that he had close contact with victims in his home country.

Authorities in Guinea had been searching for the young man for three weeks since he evaded surveillance, the minister said. Tests at the Pasteur Institute in Dakar showed him positive for the disease.

“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 said.

The WHO this month classified the Ebola outbreak as an international health emergency. On Thursday, it unveiled a $490 million road map to bring the outbreak under control over the next nine months, saying it was a global health issue.

Unknowingly, many health care workers have contracted the virus themselves and infected the very communities they are seeking to help. So far, more than 120 health care workers have died in the epidemic. Liberia reported five new cases of infection among them in a single day this week.

At least 1,550 people have died of Ebola and more than 3,000 have been infected since the virus was detected in the remote jungles of southeastern Guinea in March, and quickly spread across the border to Liberia and Sierra Leone.

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