Senegal, a major hub for the business and aid community in West Africa, has become the region's fifth country to confirm a case of Ebola after a student arrived from neighbouring Guinea carrying the disease.

Health minister Awa Marie Coll Seck said on Friday that the young man had turned up for treatment at a hospital in the Senegalese capital Dakar on Tuesday but concealed that he had had close contact with victims in his home country.

She said Guinean authorities said the student from the Guinean capital Conakry had disappeared three weeks ago while  under surveillance for having close contact with Ebola victims.

Live Box 201482572719796478

"The results of tests carried out by the Pasteur Institute in Dakar were positive," the minister said.

The worst ever outbreak of the virus, first detected in the jungles of southeast Guinea in March, has killed more than 1,550 people. Most of these were in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, but six people have also died in Nigeria.

Dakar is a regional hub for UN agencies and aid groups serving the Sahel region of West Africa. 

In an effort to insulate itself from the worst ever Ebola epidemic, Senegal announced last week it was closing its southern land border with Guinea. It also banned flights to and from Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, but not Nigeria.

On Thursday, the World Health Organisation said that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa could exceed 20,000 cases, which is more than six times as many as doctors know about now. 

Source: Reuters