Ebola case in Senegal raises the alarm

A Senegalese hygienist demonstrates how to protect oneself against the Ebola virus on April 8, 2014, at Dakar airport, during a visit of the Senegalese health minister to check the safety measures put in place to fight against the virus' spread in western Africa. SEYLLOU/AFP/Getty Images

DAKAR, Senegal - The World Health Organization says it is treating Senegal's first confirmed Ebola case "as a top priority emergency."

In a statement distributed Sunday, the WHO said it would address as quickly as possible Senegal's "urgent need" for support and supplies including personal protective equipment for health workers.

Senegal, a tourist and transportation hub, confirmed its first case of the deadly Ebola disease on Friday, becoming the fifth country in West Africa to be affected by an outbreak that has killed more than 1,500 people. Most of the infections and deaths have been in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.

The patient is a 21-year-old student from Guinea who showed up at a hospital in Dakar on Aug. 26.

Authorities in Guinea had lost track of the student and alerted Senegal on Aug. 27 that he may have crossed into Senegal.

Meanwhile in Sierra Leone, health workers have gone on strike at a major state-run Ebola treatment centre in Sierra Leone, over pay and poor working conditions, hospital staff told Reuters on Saturday.

Clothing to protect health workers being infected is inadequate and there is only one broken stretcher which is used to carry both patients and corpses, a government officials told Reuters.

More than 20 health workers have already died from Ebola at the Kenema health clinic after catching the highly contagious virus from the patients they are fighting to save.

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