Ghana Confirms Two Cases Of Lassa Fever
The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has said two cases of Lassa fever have been confirmed in Ghana.
All the cases were confirmed in the Greater Accra region, a statement from the GHS said on Sunday.
“The GHS received notification of two confirmed cases of Lassa fever from the Nogucchi Memorial Institute of Medical Research on 24th February 2023”, the statement dated February 26 said.
According to the GHS, the first case was confirmed in a 40year old trader who was unwell for two weeks and subsequently died at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital.
The second case, the GHS said, was a contact case of the fatal one and is on admission currently.
It added that 56 contacts have been traced and are being followed up.
In May 2022, the GHS issued a health alert to the Chief Executive Officers of Teaching Hospitals in the country about the outbreak of the disease in neighbouring countries.
“Given the proximity of these countries, both geographically and through travel, it is important that heightened surveillance is implemented to ensure the prompt identification and appropriate investigation of any suspected case”, a part of a letter from the GHS in 2022 said.
About Lassa Fever
Lassa fever is caused by the Lassa virus transmitted from Mastomys rats to humans primarily through food or items contaminated with rat faeces or urine. Human-to-human transmission can also occur to a lesser extent in instances of direct contact with body fluids, blood, secretions of infected individuals and sexual intercourse.
The illness may exhibit symptoms such as general body pain, fever, headache, sore throat, chest pain, muscle pain, vomiting, nausea, diarrhoea, cough, abdominal pain, bleeding from mouth, nose vagina or stomach and death.
According to the Service, there is no vaccine to protect against the virus, however, there is an antiviral drug which is much effective when taken earlier.
Symptoms shall be confirmed to be Lassa fever after a positive IgM antibody, PCR, or virus isolation, the GHS said.
The disease is currently endemic in Nigeria, Sierra Leon, Liberia Guinea, Benin, and Mali.
It can be prevented by maintaining a clean environment.
Measures Put In Place By GHS
The GHS says Public Health Emergency Management Committees have been activated at the District, Regional and National levels with required medication and logistics being mobilised.
Additionally, it said, detailed investigations including environmental assessment have started, plus contact tracing and management.
Also, quarantine of contacts has been instituted and daily follow-up by health staff is ongoing.
“Strict Infection Prevention and Control with barrier nursing has been instituted. Sensitisation of health staff on Lassa has started. Community sensitisation and education on Lassa fever are ongoing”, it added.
Source: opensuo.com/Hajara Fuseini