Rwanda’s tourism not affected by swine flu


Kigali — Despite the current internal outbreak of the Influenza A H1N1, also known as Swine Flu, officials from the Rwanda Development Board-Tourism and Conservation office, yesterday assured tourists that it has not affected the industry.

Officials allayed any fears, emphasising that there is no cause for alarm because the Ministry of Health has instituted appropriate measures to curb any further spread of the contagious flu.

The Deputy CEO in charge of Tourism and Conservation, Rosette Rugamba, highlighted the fact that no cases have been traced in the tourism areas of the country.

“The general public must know that there is no threat of swine flu among people living in the vicinity of the National Parks or among the wildlife. Tourism activities are going on as usual,” Rugamba said.

Individuals and tourists visiting the country and national parks have been advised to take precautionary measures and proper hygiene practices while those who develop severe symptoms of influenza such as; fever, sore throat, are advised to seek treatment at the nearest health facility.

“In case you are already at the national park, please pay careful attention to your Guide’s briefing and strictly follow all the instructions, for cases of wildlife susceptible to human diseases like gorillas, try not to break the distance of 7 metres and 22 feet from the animals,” officials caution tourists.

By yesterday, laboratory confirmed cases of the flu in the country were standing at 29, with the first case confirmed on the October 9.

According to Prof. Justin Wane, the head of the Swine flu response team in the country, the cases have been isolated and are being treated aggressively.

“Some of the individuals that tested positive for the virus have actually recovered and are waiting for the quarantine period to elapse before they can resume their routine work.

“All the other people that might have come in contact with the confirmed cases, including their family members are being traced and checked for symptoms of flu like illness,” Wane said.

Among the confirmed cases, are officials of King Faisal Hospital, pupils from Marie Auxialitrice School in Kigali and six members of the index family.

The Ministry of Health has Tamiflu doses that can effectively treat over 14,000 patients and efforts to continue improving the emergency preparedness capacity and surveillance are underway.

A team from the Ministry of Health is working in partnership with TRAC Plus, the National Reference Laboratory and other institutions to monitor the spread of the virus closely.