Due to the growing concern and pressure from the media, the Ministry of Health (MoH) has announced its alert and preparedness, regarding the spreading rate of swine flu.
The possibility of Swine Influenza reaching Botswana is not ruled out.
The MoH announced its collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture in making all the necessary preparations to handle any suspected or confirmed cases of the fast killing disease that has left the world in jitters.
The flu like disease, has been making headline after headline in the world media, has been killing people in affected areas by the hour.
As of April 24th, swine flu was confirmed as the culprit for the death of over 62 infected persons and 882 affected cases in Mexico alone.
The death toll has increased by 103 cases, still in Mexico.
The scariest part is its rapid spreading worldwide; different cases are discovered in different parts of the world every day.
The MoH has advised Botswana residents to avoid traveling to affected places as it could mean a high possibility of catching the fatal disease.
To date, the only recorded known places where deaths have occurred are Mexico, USA, New Zealand, Israel, France and Spain. The disease is reported to have reached parts of England.
In the case of England, Batswana’s concerns are expected to have substantial grounds as the government sponsors most of its science students to different parts of the English country.
The concern is that some of the students might be as unlucky as to catch the disease.
DR Kolaatamo Malefho, the Acting Permanent Secretary for the Ministry, said that the contagious virus spreads from infected live pigs to humans, from there on it spreads from human to human through respiratory droplets.
“Even though we have had no cases in Botswana, the Ministry of Health advises the public that if any person that has traveled to any of the affected countries or has had contact with any person affected by swine influenza who develops a combination of the above symptoms should report to the nearest health facility for assistance,” said Malefho.
As a necessary precaution, Malefho has warned Batswana to always be on the lookout for symptoms such as fever that is more than 37.8 degrees, sore throat, cough, stuffy nose, chills, headaches and body aches, fatigue, chest pains, difficulty in breathing, and, in some cases, diarrhea and vomiting.
Batswana have been advised to handle with care all laundries prior to washing, and clean their hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub right after handling dirty laundry.
Another precaution to be taken is to keep contaminated surfaces clean by wiping them down with a household disinfectant, right after washing one’s hands, and every time after sneezing or coughing. When coughing or sneezing, people are advised to cover their nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve (if they don’t have a tissue), and throw used tissues in a trash can to be disposed properly.