UK exports more H1N1 cases

KAMPALA, Uganda (eTN) – Following the breaking news a few days ago that Kenya reported the first case of the H1N1 flu, brought to the country from Britain, news has emerged from the Ugandan Ministry of Health that again a British visitor was found to be infected with the disease, having slipped through the initial controls at the entry points before then falling ill in earnest and being diagnosed.

The man, said to be in his early 40s, reportedly arrived at the Entebbe International Airport on June 26 from a connecting Kenya Airways flight, where he duly filled his screening form before then staying with friends. When showing flu symptoms, he was checked by a doctor who admitted him as a precaution to the hospital in Entebbe where subsequently the diagnosis was confirmed.

As a result, Uganda has sped up the importation of Tami Flu, an antiviral medication used elsewhere in treating the illness, but officials have all but admitted that it would be impossible to check each and every visitor to the country for the H1N1 flu type, other than capturing their contacts in the country and most recent movements before arrival in Uganda, as done by the MoH team at the Entebbe airport arrival lounge.

Presently, less than a hundred cases are known across Africa, but these “exports” from nations already having a large pool of infected people will undoubtedly spread the disease further around the globe. The Ministry of Health, in conjunction with the United Nations World Health Organization, is now adding facilities and materials at the national referral hospital, Mulago, in Kampala and other selected health facilities like in Entebbe, to be ready for further imports of the disease.

Tourism sources contacted, since the news broke, however, were confident that this first case of H1N1 would not prevent visitors from coming to Uganda, nor east Africa for that matter, as the problem in the home countries of visitors was rather greater and more widespread than presently the case here on the African continent.