A university student infected with Ebola evaded health surveillance for weeks as he slipped into Senegal, carrying the deadly virus to a fifth West African nation. The incident illustrates how quarantines, border closures and flight bans can fail to contain outbreaks, experts say. The student from Guinea showed up for treatment at a hospital in Dakar on Tuesday, but he didn’t tell anyone he had been in contact with other Ebola victims, Health Minister Awa Marie Coll Seck said. Now health officials must try to identify all of his contacts in Dakar — a big city with more than 2 million people that’s a major transportation hub and tourist destination.
Health experts in Guinea said they had lost track of someone they’d been watching three weeks earlier, and told officials he may have crossed into Senegal. The student was tracked down in the Dakar hospital and quarantined, Seck said. Senegal has closed major border crossings and banned flights from Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria. "I think it illustrates the ineffectiveness of closing borders and canceling flights. People will still find a way to get around," said Dr. Peter Piot, a co-discoverer of Ebola who directs the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
- The Associated Press
First published August 29 2014, 1:28 PM