A man infected with Ebola travelled to Senegal, bringing to the country the first confirmed case of the disease that has hit four other West African nations and killed more than 1,500 people, the health ministry has said.
The infected patient, 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 told 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. A test has confirmed that he has Ebola, and the World Health Organisation (WHO) 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 WHO, Doctors Without Borders and other organisations.
WHO on Friday said the past week has seen the highest increase of cases, of more than 500, since the outbreak began.