AH1N1-flu infects 14 in Senegal

By Frederic Tendeng
Senegal’s Minister of Health, Modou Diagne Fada, has on Monday admitted to the existence of AH1N1-flu in his country.  Speaking in a press briefing, the Minister revealed that of late, 14 cases have been registered in Senegal. The infected people are spread around Pikine, in the region of Dakar, with seven cases, six in Mbacké while only one was registered in the Mourid city of Touba. This shows that of the 14 Senegalese regions, only two of them, Dakar and Diourbel have been affected.
On the origin of the disease, the Senegalese Minister of Health explained that big events like the recent Magal of Touba are rallying occurrences where pilgrims from across the world were present. “As such, investigations are currently being conducted to determine whether the affected patients are from abroad or have been in contact with immigrants. According Modou Diagne Fada, Senegalese authorities were not surprised by the appearance of AH1N1-flu in their territory. He said “even the neighboring countries have not escaped from the epidemic”.  Mr Diagne Fada who did not want to sound alarming, however announced the arrival in the next weeks of vaccine consignments promised by the World Health Organization (WHO). In his optimistic prognosis, the Senegalese health Minister predicted that his department will contain the flu by April this year. Meanwhile, the Minister was keen to assure the Senegalese population that the situation is under control. “All the 14 cases that have been diagnosed were treated and cared for without being hospitalized. The situation is stationary and not alarming” he said.
The Minister said that “even if the situation is not alarming, Senegalese authorities will establish a monitoring system to prevent the spread of the epidemic. Our country has enough financial and material resources to cope with an outbreak”, Modou Diagne Fada said. According to him, “there are enough anti viral vaccine doses at the National Supply Pharmacy. Sampling kits are also available at health facilities, as well as masks and surgical equipments for medical staff” the Minister explained.
In the same vein, the Health Official announced that special arrangements will be taken ahead of the Gamou of Tivaouane where  the Tijan Muslim community will celebrate Maouloud in the coming weeks. A communication and information plan will back the whole preventive strategy adopted by the Senegalese Government.
AH1N1 flu is different from the common seasonal flu often found in tropical Africa. It is an acute respiratory illness caused by a virus. The disease is contagious and often displays symptoms like cough, joint pain, headache, sore throat … During his press briefing, the Minister stressed the need to ventilate houses and wash hands as part of the basic preventive measures.

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