The number of confirmed Swine Flu cases in Botswana has shot up from four to 13 as the country’s health authorities announced plans on Wednesday to set up a testing laboratory with the assistance of the United States.
The Botswana director of public health Ms Sheenaz El-Halabi said at a press conference that the Swine Flu testing laboratory will be up and running by the end of next month. She said the America Centre for Disease Control (CDC) has agreed to help in the establishment of the facility.
Botswana currently uses South African laboratories to test Swine Flu samples. Ms El-Halabi said that even if the Botswana facility starts operating they will still send some samples to South Africa for verification tests.
She added that of the 13 confirmed cases of Swine Flu in Botswana, six are female while seven are male. All the people had been outside the country or had contact with those who had travelled abroad.
The second city of Francistown recorded the highest number, with six while the capital Gaborone follows with five. The disease has spread to the mining town of Jwaneng and Gantsi in the remote north.
All the Swine Flu patients in Botswana have been released from hospital but Ms El-Halabi warned that the disease will spread further. Unconfirmed reports indicated that the health authorities in Francistown had panicked because of the spread of the disease in the city.