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Tuesday,September 29,2020 22:55 PM

Uganda tightens swine flu screening

By Vision Reporter

Added 30th June 2009 03:00 AM

SCREENING and surveillance at Entebbe International Airport and the border post of Malaba have been beefed up following the confirmation of a swine flu case in neighbouring Kenya.

SCREENING and surveillance at Entebbe International Airport and the border post of Malaba have been beefed up following the confirmation of a swine flu case in neighbouring Kenya.

By Anthony Bugembe
and Stephen Candia


SCREENING and surveillance at Entebbe International Airport and the border post of Malaba have been beefed up following the confirmation of a swine flu case in neighbouring Kenya.

“We cannot close the border or airport but we are now stricter. We have sent more teams to Entebbe airport and eastern Uganda to help train health workers, screen and monitor,” said Sam Okware, the chairperson of the swine flu task force.

“We have put all the districts on alert. We are also ensuring that surveillance teams are on the ground, sensitising the population and screening travellers. Travellers have been cooperative because it is for their own good.”

As part of the preparations, the health ministry has trained 91 facilitators from 21 vulnerable districts on how to handle swine flu cases. Most of these districts are at Uganda’s borders with neighbouring countries.

Speaking from Entebbe Grade B hospital yesterday afternoon, Okware told The New Vision that a South African woman was in isolation at the hospital after showing suspicious signs.

“She flew in on Monday night aboard a South African Airways flight. We put her under isolation and took samples for testing at the virus research institute. Fortunately, they have turned out negative,” Okware said.

The South African lady brings to six the number of suspected cases of the viral disease in Uganda. All six were found negative.

Health minister Stephen Mallinga said there was no need for alarm because concrete steps had been taken to stop the virus from entering the country.

“The Kenyans are allowed into the country provided they are screened. We have all the necessary personnel and equipment,” he said.

Last month, the World Health Organisation boosted Uganda’s preparedness with over 40,000 doses of Tami flu antiviral drugs and 25 pairs of protective equipment for health workers and attendants should the disease break out. Isolation camps were also set up at Entebbe and Mulago hospitals, in addition to screening all people entering the country.

Swine flu broke out in Mexico two months ago and spread rapidly across the globe.

Initially, health experts suspected it was transmitted by pigs, which prompted some countries to order the slaughter of all pigs. However, when this was proved wrong, the name was changed to Influenza A.

Over 70,000 laboratory confirmed cases of the disease have been reported in 116 countries; a total of 311 died of the disease.

African countries with confirmed cases are Morocco, Kenya, South Africa, Tunisia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Cape Verde and Algeria.

Swine flu symptoms are similar to those of regular human flu: fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.

How to avoid transmission of Influenza A

  • Always sneeze or cough into a handkerchief or tissue.

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and plenty of water especially after touching the mouth and nose or surfaces that are potentially contaminated.

  • Reduce the time in crowded places if possible.

  • Improve air flow in your house by opening windows.

  • Avoid close contact with people who show influenza-like symptoms; maintain a distance of about one metre.

  • Uganda tightens swine flu screening

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