Swine flu threatens to put pork out of the market, and pork lovers in search of another delicacy after the World Health Organization (WHO) issued an international alert on the pandemic.
Despite the Organisation’s assurance that the flu is not transmissible, if the pork is properly handled, some are still hesitant to consume this meat for fear of contracting the disease.
China and Russia have already banned pork imports from Mexico and the United States. Others like Japan and Indonesia seem to have taken even tougher measures and are reported to be using themographic devices to check tourists arriving from Mexico.
A press statement from WHO warns that the disease can no longer be contained, causing governments across the world to establish measures from spreading to other countries.
In Rwanda the Ministry of Health has put in place a surveillance system for the swine flu through TRAC plus and the National Reference Laboratory (NRL) in four hospitals in the country.
The sites will facilitate surveillance for all highly infectal diseases including swine flu.
Prof. Michael Kramer the Director General of Trac Plus says: “The government is well equipped to identify any cases of the influenza and will act immediately to prevent transmission levels in case of an internal outbreak.”
TRAC plus and NRL will continue to monitor the situation and asses the need for additional measures to deal any threats from disease.
Africa is safe for now. But there does not seem to be any assurance to the population as the flu spreads rapidly worldwide. Despite the above endeavors, it seems the pork market will still be hard hit. It is inevitable that people may have to keep away from pork for a while.
Francis Wahome the proprietor of the Executive Carwash gardens, abarbeque, says though people are still eating a lot of pork he is worried that the sales might go down as the flu spreads.
“It (the flu) is not here yet, but we don’t know about tomorrow. My customers have not complained yet but I am not sure whether I will sell as much pork as usual.”
Sarah Ingabire a pork consumer who for now is willing to forego this delicacy.
“I know it’s not yet here but who is to say it won’t be here soon. I just want to be safe so I will not eat pork for a while. Once they announce that they have contained the flu. I just might think about going back to it.”
Ruth and James Habyarimana feel that eating pork is still safe since the disease has not yet been reported in Rwanda.
“It is unnecessary to be wary of pork. I don’t think we are prone to the flu yet. My family will continue to enjoy it until the disease is reported here.”
WHO has raised the level of influenza pandemic alert from phase three to phase four. According to the organization’s statement the change to a higher phase of pandemic alert indicates that the likelihood of rapid transmission has increased.