Ebola: Govt screens travelers from DRC

HEALTH - The Ministry of Health is vetting all people entering the country from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) following the recent outbreak of Ebola, a deadly haemorrhagic fever which kills 90 percent of its patients.
Microscopic image of the virus that causes Ebola
Microscopic image of the virus that causes Ebola

HEALTH - The Ministry of Health is vetting all people entering the country from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) following the recent outbreak of Ebola, a deadly haemorrhagic fever which kills 90 percent of its patients.

A fortnight ago, government officials in the DRC confirmed that Ebola had struck in the areas of the Western Kasai Province, where a new outbreak has already killed over 166 people. The disease is identified with high fever of about 40C and blood coming out from all natural body openings of the patient.

Dr Vianney Nizeyimana, the Deputy Director for Applied Research and Epidemiology, said yesterday that all visitors from DR Congo are required to fill some special forms before entering the country.

“The form outlines the background information of the person including the place of origin and where that person is going to,” Nizeyimana said.

“We try to make follow-up on those people for twenty-one days to establish whether there are no signs of Ebola virus,” he added.

He said that the ministry has put specialised personnel in the border districts of Rubavu, Rusizi and Karongi to help identify those individuals who might have contracted the disease and accord them with medical assistance.

“We met with health and migration officials in Rubavu and Rusizi districts to see how the epidemic can be prevented from spreading to the country,” he explained.

Plans are underway, he said, to open up sites in the City of Kigali especially at Kigali International Airport to observe the same procedure that is applied at the border posts.
He remarked that refugees from the DRC might transmit the disease since it is difficult to identify those who might have come from Kasai.

The official, however, stressed that there is an emergency plan to handle all the cases if identified.

The State Minister in-charge of HIV/Aids and other Epidemic Diseases, Dr Innocent Nyaruhirira, told a press conference yesterday that the government had put restrictions on those who enter into the Congo and those from Congo especially the affected areas.
“The Ministry has sensitised them about the dangers of Ebola virus,” he told journalists at the Treatment and Research Aids Centre (Trac).

He said that doctors are being trained on how to handle such cases and called on Rwandans to be alert and report any suspected cases.

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