Rwanda on alert as swine flu strikes DRC

Following weekend reports of Swine Flu in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Director of Rwanda Animal Resources Development Authority (RARDA), Dr Theogene Rutagwenda, has warned Rwandans to brace for the disease’s possible occurrence in the country.
Dr Theogene Rutagwenda.
Dr Theogene Rutagwenda.

Following weekend reports of Swine Flu in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Director of Rwanda Animal Resources Development Authority (RARDA), Dr Theogene Rutagwenda, has warned Rwandans to brace for the disease’s possible occurrence in the country.

DRC on Saturday reported its first case of swine flu, from a South African miner based in the country’s mineral-rich south-east city of Lubumbashi.

The victim was employed by a US mining firm in the Katanga province.

In an interview with The New Times, Rutagwenda maintained that the country is still well placed to deal with the disease out-break even as it edges closer.

“Swine flu according to World Health Organisation reports is now closer than ever, we are aware that Congo has confirmed its first case.

To counter any occurrence the assigned task force is currently carrying out awareness campaigns in all 416 sectors across the country,” said Rutagwenda.

According to Rutagwenda, the training will cover preventive health measures such as covering the mouth while coughing; washing hands to prevent disease spread as well as sensitization to avoid stigma in case of infection.

Currently hard hit Kenya is on high alert after swine flu cases rose to 71 in less than two months, while South-Africa has reported eight deaths so far.

Rutagwenda, said that emphasis should now be in mitigation especially in view of the fact that Rwandans travelling to affected areas might be exposed to infection.

“People should be responsible if exposed to the Flu, if you suspect you may have swine flu it’s imperative you stay away from public areas to avoid passing on the Flu,”Rutagwenda cautioned.

“Rwandans should be aware the disease is now surrounding us, and take necessary precautions,” Rutagwenda urged.

“Anyone with the disease symptoms especially if he/she has travelled to affected countries should seek medical help” he said.

So far 1799 deaths have been attributed to swine flu globally according to World Health Organisation reports however Rutagwenda maintains the disease is not as deadly as when it first began

“The flu is not as devastating as it was initially; the fatality rates are still low as compared to the disease spread areas,” Rutagwenda said

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