• Influenza hits Western Uganda
KIGALI - The Director General of TRAC plus, Prof. Michael Kramer yesterday revealed that there are still no specific cross-border control measures for swine flu despite increasing confirmed cases of the disease in Western Uganda.
“Apparently, we ensure that all people travelling through the Kigali International Airport fill forms that help us determine whether or not the individual could have symptoms of the influenza depending on which countries they visited.
“This service however is not available at the country’s borders and we do not intend to introduce it there because tracking people’s movements from within the region is quite difficult and requires a lot of effort,” Kramer explained.
He added that discussions are in progress to establish control measures at the borders once it is confirmed that indeed there are high infections in the Bushenyi district of neighbouring Uganda.
“So far we are monitoring the situation closely as we urge people to be more vigilant about the symptoms of swine flu. Bushenyi is so close to Rwanda, and if need be, we will contact the World Health Organisation for further instructions,” he added.
According to a statement from the Director General of Health Services in Uganda, Dr. Sam Zaramba, the outbreak of swine flu occurred in Kitabi Seminary, a secondary school in Bushenyi district and by September, 20, eight students had tested positive.
“180 students have similar symptoms of fever, sore throat, cough, chest pain, sneezing and running nose. The disease has however been mild and there have been no deaths,” the statement quotes.
Latest media reports however indicate that by yesterday, over 250 people had tested positive.
Rwanda’s Coordinator for districts and borders in the Immigration and Emigration department, Jean Marie Vianney Nkurayija, told The New Times that about 1,250 Rwandans travel to Uganda while over 1,140 return back from the same country, daily.
Kramer however urged all travelers and Rwandans in general to be vigilant of the symptoms of the disease and immediately report to health officials once influenza-like symptoms or illnesses arise.
He added that “we have a trained response team and sentinel surveillance sites in all provinces of the country. The ministry of health also has 14,000 doses of Tamiflu anti-virals.”
Officials however maintain that preventative measures such as covering of the mouth and nose when sneezing and washing hands regularly should continue to be observed.
There are no confirmed cases of swine flu in the country as yet.