Rwanda reports Ebola suspect from Sierra Leone, presses alert button

A German medical student travelling from West Africa to Rwanda has been hospitalized after doctors suspected he has Ebola-like symptoms.

The patient is kept in an isolated facility. “Samples from the suspected case have been sent for testing to an international accredited laboratory for approval,” the Ministry of Health said. “Results will be available in 48 hours,” it said.

His passport indicates he travelled through Sierra Leone, one of the Ebola virus hotbeds in West Africa, on his way to Rwanda.

Health Minister, Agnes Binagwaho later said on Tweeter that the student had fever and confirmed malaria. “Many would have close his file but as he spent days in Liberia before coming in Rwanda,” she said.

Her ministry said, “The patient’s condition is improving. His temperature has significantly dropped.”

Rwanda has never recorded any Ebola case since the outbreak of the virus in Africa.

The news of the Ebola suspect has triggered some level of panic in Rwanda. “I am afraid it will be catastrophic in case results come out positive,” says Mark Bakundukize, a home cleaner in Butare town, southern Rwanda.

The government has requested the public to remain calm, but cautioned Rwandans to remain vigilant and report any cases on a hotline (114).

Everyone who had contact with the suspect has been quarantined, despite nurses, doctors, and other health workers not showing any symptoms or signs of Ebola.

Doctors say the virus is highly contagious and transmitted from person to person; characterized by fever, headache, joint and muscle pain, sore throat, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pains, bleeding and is not an airborne disease.

Minister Binagwaho, said Rwanda is prepared to tackle Ebola virus. “We are ready with so many things”, she said.

She has commissioned 270 medical personnel and makeshift clinics now on stand-by, passenger screening beefed up at the Kigali International Airport, and information manuals on Ebola have been distributed to both passengers and flight attendants.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the outbreak in West Africa as a “global emergency”.

More than 960 people are reported dead in Guinea Bissau, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria. Medical experts say nine in every ten people infected with Ebola virus die, but in case of an early treatment, patients can survive.

There is no proven vaccine or cure for Ebola virus yet.

By Magnus Mazimpaka