Rwanda says no Ebola patient crossed into its territory

Thursday July 18 2019

A woman gets her temperature measured at an Ebola screening station in Goma.

A woman gets her temperature measured at an Ebola screening station as she enters the Democratic Republic of the Congo from Rwanda on July 16, 2019 in Goma. Rwanda has has said no Ebola patient crossed into its territory. PHOTO | JOHN WESSELS | AFP 

IVAN R. MUGISHA
By IVAN R. MUGISHA
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Rwanda on Thursday said there is no Ebola case in the country after reports that a fishmonger who died of the virus this week may have carried the disease into the country.

“There is no Ebola in Rwanda as far as we are concerned. We have a strong surveillance system in place that helps us to prevent its entry,” Malic Kayumba, Head of Communications at Rwanda Biomedical Centre told The EastAfrican.

“We investigate every day and have a system that informs us of all we need to know, and such news would be coming from us. If there was entry of a suspected Ebola victim we would have known,” added Kayumba.

Mr Kayumba was reacting to reports by the Word Health Organisation that the fishmonger might have crossed into Rwanda’s Gisenyi town, which borders DR Congo.

The woman is reported to have vomited at a market in Mpondwe on the Ugandan border last Thursday before returning to DR Congo and dying from the virus.

“Upon leaving Uganda, she is suspected to have gone to Goma in DRC and later to Gisenyi in Rwanda with unknown business interests. Later, she is believed to have sought care in a private clinic in Beni. The local community learnt about her death two days ago and still attributes it to miscarriage or witchcraft, ” the WHO said on Wednesday.

The UN health agency also said that it had identified 12 high-risk contacts with the woman, including the motorcyclist who transported her into Uganda.WHO, however, did not mention any high-risk Ebola contacts in Rwanda.

Rwanda’s health ministry on Monday urged citizens to avoid unnecessary travel to eastern DR Congo.

“Rwandan residents are advised to avoid unnecessary travels to areas affected by an Ebola outbreak immediately report to the nearest screening station if you are coming from an Ebola-affected area.”

The country has never had a recorded case of Ebola and has trained over 23,000 medical personnel, police officers and volunteers in preparation to fight outbreaks.

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