Ebola surveillance strengthened in Rwanda as DR Congo confirms two cases

Following confirmed cases of Ebola in neighboring DR Congo, and given the escalating outbreak of the Ebola virus disease in West Africa, the Ministry of Health on Monday again reassured the public that preventive measures are in place and there should be no cause for panic. The Ministry, in a statement, reiterated that various preventive measures were already in place to contain the disease, including strengthening surveillance at all points of entry into the country, including border posts and airports.
Tests on two people have confirmed Ebola in DR Congo, where 13 have already died. (Internet photo)
Tests on two people have confirmed Ebola in DR Congo, where 13 have already died. (Internet photo)

Following confirmed cases of Ebola in neighboring DR Congo, and given the escalating outbreak of the Ebola virus disease in West Africa, the Ministry of Health on Monday again reassured the public that preventive measures are in place and there should be no cause for panic.

The Ministry, in a statement, reiterated that various preventive measures were already in place to contain the disease, including strengthening surveillance at all points of entry into the country, including border posts and airports.

“Referral hospitals, district hospitals and other health facilities are well equipped and staff have been trained to handle any cases,” reads part of the statement.

“The Ministry of Health in collaboration other concerned institutions through the national emergency preparedness teams has put in place actions for preparedness and elaborated plans to prevent any potential health risks of Ebola.”

With all the preventive measures in place “set according to the national standards,” the Ministry calls on the public to stay calm.

Over the weekend, the DR Congo government confirmed that an outbreak of what seemed a different strain to West Africa's haemorrhagic fever in the north of the country has been identified as Ebola.

The BBC reports that tests on two people had confirmed the disease in Equateur province, where 13 had already died. A 100-square kilometer radius in Boende, a town lying on the Tshuapa River, east of Mbandaka in Equateur province, where the cases had been registered was reportedly being set up to contain the disease.

The cases in the DR Congo are the first reported outside West Africa since the outbreak there began.

The Sierra Leone parliament last week passed a new law making hiding Ebola patients a criminal offence and, if signed by the president, could see those caught facing up to two years in jail.

Even as the UN condemns travel bans by several countries to the three main countries – Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea – hit by the deadly Ebola disease, several countries including the Ivory Coast, Gabon, Senegal, Cameroon and South Africa have ordered travel bans to the affected trio.

Last week, Kenya’s national carrier Kenya Airways (KQ) suspended its flights to Liberia and Sierra Leone over the Ebola outbreak.

Governments in the East African Community (EAC), sources say, are close to agreeing on a stronger widespread strategy that would seem the five-member states also regulate travel to the affected West African countries.

Ebola, one of the world's deadliest diseases, with up to 90 percent of cases resulting in death, is spread between humans through direct contact with infected bloodily fluids.

Even as the UN condemns travel bans by several countries to the three main countries hit by the deadly Ebola disease, Minister of Health Dr. Agnès Binagwaho, on Saturday told The New Times that the government had an obligation to protect the lives of its citizens and would consider similar actions if the situation in those countries worsened.

 

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