The Ghana Health Service says it is on full alert following the confirmation of two Lassa fever cases in Accra, which resulted in one person dying.
In an interview aired on Joy News Desk on Monday, the Director of Public Health at the GHS, Dr Franklin Asiedu-Bekoe says the Service has activated a number of measures including conducting a full-scale environmental impact assessment to stop the further spread of the virus.
“So the issue is where are the reservoirs? Those are the things that we need to better understand to avoid future occurrences,” he said.
Dr Asiedu-Bekoe said the Ghana Health Service is also working with Ghana Wildlife and other health stakeholders to examine the Lassa fever.
“We had a meeting with all the regional directors on Saturday so every region has activated their Public Health Emergency Management,” he added.
He noted that GHS is currently contact tracing, adding that “we have 57 cases and we will keep on to identify more contacts, because we need to understand the situation.
This action comes after GHS confirmed that it had received notification of two confirmed Lassa fever cases from the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research on February 24th, 2023.
According to the Ghana Health Service, a 40-year-old trader, who was unwell for a period of two weeks died at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital.
The second case is a contact of the fatal case and is currently on admission but is very stable.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health and Ghana Health Service has assured the general public that all efforts are being made to contain this outbreak and prevent the further spread of the virus.
All you need to know about Lassa fever
Lassa fever is caused by Lassa virus and the incubation period is 2-21 days.
The virus is transmitted to humans through contact with food or household items contaminated with rodent (Rats, Mice) urine or faeces.
Lassa virus may also be spread between humans through direct contact with the blood, urine, faeces or other bodily fluids of a person infected with Lassa fever. Sexual transmission of Lassa virus has been reported.
Symptoms of Lassa fever
The early symptoms of Lassa fever may include fever and general weakness.
Persons may later present with headache, sore throat, muscle pain, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, cough, and abdominal pain.
In severe cases, there may be bleeding from the mouth, nose, vagina or stomach. Death usually occurs within 14 days of onset in fatal eases.
Treatment and prophylaxis
There is medicine (antiviral) for treatment and much effective if taken early. There is currently no vaccine that protects against Lassa fever.
Prevention and Control
Prevention relies on promoting community hygiene to discourage rodents from entering our homes.
Effective measures include storing grain and other foodstuffs in rodent-proof containers, disposing of garbage far from the home, maintaining clean households and keeping cats.
Let us also avoid contact with blood and body fluids while caring for sick persons.
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