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Mother and two children confirmed with Swine flu

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Two girls pass through the King Faisal security with masks on them. Nobody is being allowed into the hospital unless they have the protection

Kigali: The elite King Faisal Hospital has been quarantined with four cases of people with the H1N1 virus commonly known as swine flu as of Saturday evening, RNA can reveal, which are the first cases in the country.

The confirmed cases include a mother and her two children, and a doctor who was treating the family, according to Dr Michael Kramer, head of TRAC Plus – the disease control agency.

The mother with the virus had just returned from the United States a few days ago – where it is suspected she got the virus, or along her return route. Although all the four cases have tested positive for Influenza A HINI, Dr. Kramer said the illness is not severe.

Specimens taken to the National Reference Laboratory indicate that the virus is not different from the H1N1 virus confirmed in other affected countries.

To curb any spread, all contacts with these confirmed cases, including their family members and contacts are being traced and checked for symptoms of flu like illness. All contacts with symptoms will be tested for H1N1 and appropriately treated, health officials said.  

Disease control experts told RNA that close contacts (health-care workers and household contacts of confirmed cases) will receive prophylactic treatment to prevent further spread of the virus.

Meanwhile at King Faisal, nobody is being allowed to go in or out of the hospital unless they have the protective mask on them. All staff at the hospital has been given face masks for protection. Even those visiting are being asked to take up the masks at the main gate of entrance.

Available information indicates that the infected mother sought medical help when she arrived back in the country and was treated and cured. On Friday, she brought her children for treatment at King Faisal and they were diagnosed with the same symptoms as those she had.

After they were confirmed with the virus on Friday evening, the mother and her children – plus the doctor treating them were all put under special quarantine.

However, there is no cause for alarm because the strain we are seeing is moderately severe, said Dr. Kramer from TRAC. He said most people with the flu have been treated and cured – even in other countries.  

TRAC Plus says for the past 7 months, Rwanda has been prepared for such an expected outbreak like this, as numerous measures have been instituted to contain the outbreak.

An emergency working group composed of TRAC Plus, National Reference Laboratory, Rwanda Health Communication Center, CAMERWA, referral hospitals and Partners has started working immediately.

More than 14,000 treatment doses of Tamiflu, a drug used to treat the virus, and protective equipment are available.

Institutions like schools, Military camps and prisons have been advised to take caution and report any suspected cases. People should continue with their day-to-day activities as usual, TRAC said in a statement.  

“Those who are ill should delay international travel and those developing symptoms following international travel or after a contact to a suspected or confirmed case in Rwanda should seek medical attention, while people with mild symptoms are advised to stay at home.”

“Individuals are advised to cover their mouths and nose while coughing or sneezing, to wash hands thoroughly with soap and water on a regular basis and to seek medical attention if they develop severe symptoms of influenza-like illness they should seek treatment to the nearest health facility and avoid waiting with others at the same area.”

Several numbers have been provided including a hotline number: 3334 or 3335


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