Senegal has 'well-oiled system' to stop Ebola: minister

April 8, 2014

Senegal vowed Tuesday it is prepared for any spread of the deadly Ebola virus, as the suspected death toll in an outbreak raging in Guinea and Liberia rose to 111.

Government officials gave the verdict after testing defences against the killer tropical bug behind what the World Health Organisation described as one of the "most challenging" ever to strike since the disease emerged four decades ago.

"We have everything in place to take measures against Ebola. We have a well-oiled system, which we are perfecting daily," Health Minister Eva Marie Coll Seck told reporters after a visit to the port and airport in the capital, Dakar.

Seck said Senegal, a neighbour of Guinea—where 101 people have died from , of which 67 have been confirmed as Ebola victims—had increased surveillance of people coming into the country since the outbreak was made public.

Authorities have also been holding regular coordination meetings, deploying specialist health teams, boarding vessels from countries affected by the epidemic and setting aside isolation areas for any suspected cases, the minister added.

Tourism has grown to be an important part of the Senegalese economy, with arrivals passing one million in 2011, according to the World Bank.

No confirmed or suspected cases of Ebola fever have been reported in Senegal.

Still, Dakar must "take the necessary measures to protect its people and the world", said Seck.

Senegal closed its borders with Guinea on March 30 and shut down markets to prevent the spread of the virus, which has had a in the past of up to 90 percent and for which there is no vaccine or specific treatment.

Guinea's neighbours have all mobilised against the spread of Ebola since cases—confirmed, probable or suspected—have been announced in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Mali.

The WHO said Tuesday there have been 21 cases reported in Liberia, including 10 fatalities, of which five have been confirmed as Ebola.

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