The Deputy Director at the Institutional Care Division, Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr. Jacob Abebrebrese, has asked Ghanaians not to panic due to the health alert issued by institution over the lassa fever outbreak which has hit neibhouring countries including Nigeria and Burkina Faso.
Speaking to Kwame Tutu on Rainbow Radio 87.5fm, the doctor said we should not be in fear. What we should understand is that, the fever is currently in Nigeria and can possibly hit Ghana. We should look out for people who may be showing signs of the fever.’’
‘’We don’t have to be afraid but we should be high alert and identify possible signs so it is reported on time and the spread curtailed,’’ he added.
The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has issued a health alert over lassa fever.
According to GHS, ‘’ The Ministry of Health of Nigeria has confirmed and subsequently declared Lassa fever outbreak which has affected about 18 states with over 300 cases and 31 deaths. The outbreak has been on-going for the past six weeks and has necessitated urgent spontaneous national response actions among all neighbouring countries. Lassa fever outbreak has been recurrent in Nigeria and the current outbreak has affected health workers in some states.
We respectfully request the Regional Directors of Health Services and CEOs of Teaching Hospitals to ensure this Alert Message reaches all health workers in the respective Regions, Districts and Hospitals, including the Mission and Private Facilities.’’
The statement added: ‘’ We further request the Regional Directors of Health Services to initiate process to create public awareness on Lassa Fever.
We recommend the following to all health workers and institutions:
1. Surveillance on Lassa fever and Acute Haemorrhagic Fevers in general (using case definitions) should be enhanced.
2. Suspected cases of Lassa fever should be managed in specific isolation conditions
3. Health workers should adhere to regular Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) measures to prevent and protect against possible nosocomial transmission
4. Blood sample from suspected case(s) should be taken and safely packaged and sent to Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) for laboratory investigations
5. All levels (National, Regions, Districts and Facilities) are requested to update their preparedness and response plans for Lassa fever and VHF in general, sensitize the respective staff and create necessary public awareness.
6. Attached are general information on Lassa fever
We count very on your highest professional conduct, maximum cooperation and support to prevent, early detect and respond to any emergence or re-emergence of Lassa fever and any other infectious diseases.’’
General information on Lass fever
Lassa fever is an Acute Viral Haemorrhagic Fever illness which is endemic in the West Africa. The incubation period is 6-21 days.
The onset of the fever has non-specific signs and symptoms but fever, general weakness and malaise have been noted in its early stages.
This is followed by headaches, sore throat, muscle pain, chest pain, vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pains.
Severe cases may progress to show facial swelling, and bleeding.
Shock, seizures, disorientation, and coma may be seen in the late stages.
About 80 % of Lassa Fever infections are mild or asymptomatic.