Senegal’s Health Minister, Awa 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.
The minister said the student concealed the fact that he had close contacts with victims in his home country.
“Authorities in Guinea had been searching for the young man for three weeks since he evaded surveillance.
“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,” the minister said.
The health official said the student was much more co-operative and supplied all the necessary information now that he had been diagnosed of Ebola.
Senegal had last week banned flights with three of the affected countries and shut its land border with Guinea in an attempt to prevent the spread of the virus.
Meanwhile, riots broke out on Thursday night in the neighbouring Guinea where infection rates are rising fast.
A Red Cross official and residents said the riots broke out in the Guinean city of Nevermore over rumours that health workers had infected people with the Ebola virus.
A crowd of young men, some armed with clubs and knives, set up barricades across the southern city on Thursday and threatened to attack the hospital before security forces moved in to restore order.
Gunshots were fired and several people were injured, said Youssouf Traore, president of the Guinean Red Cross.
“A rumour, which was totally false, spread that we had sprayed the market in order to transmit the virus to locals.
“People revolted and resorted to violence, prompting soldiers to intervene.
Local Red Cross workers had to flee to the military camp with their medical equipment,” Traore said.
Another resident said the security forces were preventing people from leaving their neighbourhoods overnight.
More than 400 people have died in Guinea, though the infection rate is slower than in neighbouring Liberia and Sierra Leone.
The deadly virus has defied efforts by governments to control it, prompting the leading charity fighting the outbreak, Medicines Sans Frontiers, to call for the UN Security Council to take charge of efforts to stop the epidemic.
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 south-eastern Guinea in March, and quickly spread across the border to Liberia and Sierra Leone.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) warned on Thursday that 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.
In the latest sign that the outbreak was spinning out of control, the WHO said on Friday that the number of Ebola cases rose by the highest weekly amount since the epidemic began.
WHO had this month classified the Ebola outbreak as an international health emergency.
On Thursday, it unveiled a 490 million dollars roadmap to bring the outbreak under control over the next nine months, saying it was a global health issue.
In Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown, a new WHO-backed mobile laboratory opened this week to test local cases, speeding up the response time.
But Jorge Castilla, epidemiologist with the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department, said often financial pledges had not translated into more clinics and staff on the ground.
“I’ve seen many declarations and I see treatment centres on the maps, but I know they are not working,” he said in an interview after a trip to the affected countries.
Suspicion of health care workers had dogged government responses to the Ebola outbreak across West Africa.
They are often clad from head to toe in plastic protective gear and wearing protective masks, and many locals had shunned their assistance, often preferring to die in their own homes.
Unknowingly, many health care workers had contracted the virus themselves and infected the very communities they were seeking to help.
So far, more than 120 health care workers had died in the epidemic with Liberia reporting five new cases of infection among them in a single day this week.
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