GHS Issues Lassa Fever Alert

The Ghana Health Service has issued a letter to the Korle Bu teaching Hospital, the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital, the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital and the Tamale Teaching Hospital alerting them about the outbreak of lassa fever in some West African states.

The GHS says the disease which is transmitted from rats to humans through food or contaminated items has so far been detected in Nigeria, Liberia, and Togo.

“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 the letter to the hospitals’ CEOs said.

The illness may exhibit symptoms such as Malaise, fever, headache, sore throat, cough, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, myalgia, chest pain, hearing loss.

Symptoms shall be confirmed to be Lassa fever after a positive IgM antibody, PCR, or virus isolation, the GHS said.

“Samples should be dispatched to the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research for investigation”, it added.

The GHS has directed the hospitals to go by the 3rd Edition of Ghana’s Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) strategy in investigating suspected cases with strict adherence to infection prevention and control protocols.

Lassa fever, according to the GHS, is caused by the Lassa virus transmitted from Mastomys rats to humans primarily through food or items contaminated with the rat faeces or urine. Human-to-human transmission can also occur to a lesser extent in instances of direct contact with body fluids, blood, and secretions of infected individuals.

Source: Fuseini

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