GHS confirms one Lassa fever death

One person has been confirmed dead of Lassa fever (LF) at the Tema General Hospital in Accra, after his blood sample test by Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) proved positive of the disease.

 

He was said to have travelled from the Kintampo North District in the Brong Ahafo Region few weeks ago to Tema, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the GHS in Accra yesterday.

 

The statement did not disclose the name of the 26-year old man who was rushed to the hospital with general body weakness, severe headache, joint pains and profuse vomiting of blood with clots on admission.

 

It was established that within the three-week period, he travelled to Eastern, Volta and the Brong-Ahafo regions.

 

According to the statement, the victim suddenly took ill last week Thursday February 22, 2018 and reported to Tema General Hospital on February 23, where he was admitted after the symptoms had worsened.

 

It said the patient was seen at the Emergency Unit of the hospital for resuscitation and further investigations, explaining further that, “the patient was managed in the isolation unit and was later moved to the Infectious Disease Centre (IDC) of the hospital, his condition improved for a while and started deteriorating on the night of February 27, he died at the early hours of February 28 ,” it said.

The GHS and the MOH said in an effort to contain and control the spread of the disease, safe and dignified burial had been done under supervision and support of trained professionals.

 

The statement said the two institutions have further enhanced surveillance and screening at all Points of Entry (POEs) into the country.

 

It has also begun contact tracing and follow up process and informed its regional and districts health facilities about the outbreak.

 

The GHS and MOH say it has begun sensitisation of its staff on Lassa fever prevention, case management, standard precautionary measures, and barrier nursing among others.

 

 

The disease has within the past nine weeks killed about 54 people in Nigeria following which the GHS issued a health alert by reactivating its surveillance system in an attempt to prevent its occurrence in the country.

 

Lassa fever is an acute viral infectious disease which is endemic in West Africa; the disease is gradual in onset with non-specific signs and symptoms.

 

It is transmitted to humans who come into contact with infected rodents and from contacts with food or household items contaminated with rodent excreta, the incubation period is between 2-21 days.

 

Ghana had earlier in 2011 confirmed few cases of Lassa fever infections in Ashanti and Eastern regions.

 

About 80 per cent of infections are mild or without symptoms, however the disease can be severe and fatal.

 

Symptoms of the disease include fever, general weakness, and malaise, after a few days, headache, sore throat, muscle pain, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, cough, and abdominal pain may follow.

 

In severe cases, facial swelling, fluid in the lung cavity, bleeding tendencies (from the mouth, nose, vagina or gastrointestinal tract). This may result in low blood pressure and shock.

 

Late presentation may include shock, convulsion, disorientation, coma, multiple organ failure,

 

Complications during recovery include permanent hearing loss (30 per cent of cases); transient hair loss; and gait disturbance during recovery

 

The disease may present like ebola, yellow fever, malaria, typhoid fever, respiratory tract infections, ear, nose and throat infections etc.

 

There is an effective drug for treatment of the disease if reported early to a health facility.

The GHS has appealed to the general public to adhere to actions towards prevention and protection against further spread of the disease.

By Linda Naa Deide Aryeetey

 

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