31 January 2011

Rwanda: Nation Safe From Yellow Fever- MoH

Kigali — Following reports of cases of Yellow Fever in the neighboring Uganda and the Democratic republic of the Congo (DRC), the Centre for Treatment and Research on AIDS, Malaria, Tuberculosis and other epidemics (TRAC Plus) has revealed that Rwanda is safe from the epidemic.

Speaking to The New Times yesterday, the TRAC Plus's acting Director General, Dr Corrine Karema, announced that, so far, no yellow fever cases had been reported and preventive measures are already in place.

According to Karema, they have already established surveillance centers in all districts bordering Uganda and DRC to monitor possible spread.

"We have set up a number of measures to combat any incident, and these include the preparedness plan designed to rapidly assess and look at the vector. We are also conducting a research jointly with the World Health Organization (WHO) on the AEDES type of mosquito that spreads the disease to track down any possible threat," Dr Karema said.

She added that the yellow fever laboratories' capacity had been improved and enough vaccinations are being imported to meet the increasing demands.

"We have recently imported about 200,000 vaccines, however, there is no threat and in Rwanda it is even much easier to collect important information from all centres due to the country size," she said, adding that all passengers going to Uganda are supposed to receive the vaccination.

She further said that prior to the outbreak in Uganda, the rate of vaccination was 10 people per day especially to passengers heading to West Africa or out of the continent and, but currently the daily vaccination rate has risen to 200 people per day, following Uganda's appeal to the neighbours to prevent passengers heading to the country, from contracting the disease.

Meanwhile, Karema has appealed to all people planning to visit Uganda to undertake preventive measures through getting the vaccination although there were no serious monitoring teams at the border points.

The deadly epidemic's symptoms include headaches, backache, fever, nausea, higher fever, slow pulse and vomiting of blood.

It is caused by a virus transmitted by several species of mosquitoes and is spread by infected mosquitoes, which are mostly active during the day, unlike malaria, which is transmitted by the anopheles mosquito mostly at night.

Yellow fever was last recorded in the country in 1956.

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