A report by the World Health Organization said that a certain fishmonger, who was tagged as an Ebola victim after vomiting at a Ugandan market, might also have done business in Rwanda. WHO has since withdrawn the report, saying it was published with unverified information and without the prior consent of the WHO headquarters in Geneva.
Before that, authorities in Rwanda dismissed the claim of Ebola border breach on Thursday.
“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 the entry of a suspected Ebola victim we would have known.”
Rwanda has never had a single recorded case of Ebola. But due to the country’s proximity to Congo, they have more than 23,000 medical and police personnel as well as volunteers ready, if a situation arises.
The presence of the fishmonger, who later died in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) after testing positive for Ebola, hiked up Uganda’s Ebola surveillance. Working closely with the Ugandan authorities, WHO has vaccinated 590 fishmongers at the Mpondwe Market, where the vomiting took place.
A joint statement by the two organizations said,
“The health ministry and WHO appeal to all Ugandans to remain vigilant and alert. Avoid handshaking, hugging, mass gatherings, and observe infection, prevention and control practices such as washing hands with soap and clean water at all times both at health facilities and communities.”
Uganda has been a first-tier country under Ebola warning ever since the outbreak in Congo was declared an international health emergency. More than 60,000 people have been vaccinated in the country since November 2018.