GHS confirms outbreak of cholera in C/R

baduThe Ghana Health Service (GHS) has declared a cholera outbreak in the Central Region as about 156 cases have been recorded with no deaths, within two weeks.

The Ghanaian Times had reported on Monday, about the outbreak but said the health officials were tight-lipped about the situation.

Dr. Badu Sarkodie, Director of Public Health, GHS, corroborated the story at a press briefing in Accra yesterday, saying the first cholera infection in the region was recorded on October 21, at the University of Cape Coast Hospital.

“It started when a patient reported an acute watery diarrhoea, and then it was followed by two other patients reporting to the hospital with similar symptoms, and this has escalated to the current number,” he said.

Dr. Sorkodie said although the Case Fatality Rate (CFR) of the infection in the region was presently 0.0 per cent, the population continued to be at high risk of contracting the disease due to the constant drinking of contaminated water, practice of open defecation and the consumption of un-hygienically-prepared food.

He mentioned the most affected districts as Agona and Komenda-Edina-Eguafo Abirem (KEEA).

Dr. Sarkodie said the Cape Coast Regional Health Directorate had been notified to begin a campaign to fight the disease and prevent deaths.

“The Ministry has so far set up two cholera treatment centres in the teaching and regional hospitals to manage cases reported to the facility, while a rapid response team from the national level has been deployed to support the metropolis,” he said.

The Director said the GHS had also placed all regional and district hospitals on high alert, reactivated a surveillance network to capture all new cases and started an intensive public education campaign and an enhanced surveillance to fight the disease.

The Deputy Minister of Health, Dr. Victor Bampoe however, said the outbreak was under control in the Cape Coast metropolis because the infected persons reported early to the health facilities for treatment saying, “they stayed in the hospitals for a period of about three days and were discharged”.

He said the ministry would continue to scale up efforts to ensure that the disease was controlled and prevented from spreading to other parts of the country, and urged Ghanaians to be health conscious in order not to contract the disease.

Dr. Owen Kaluwa, World Health Organisation (WHO) Representative to Ghana, commended the ministry for its swift response and called for sustained efforts to prevent future outbreaks.

Ghana in 2014, recorded about 17,000 cases of cholera with 150 deaths. The infection spilled over to 2015 within which a total of 591 cases were recorded with five deaths in eight regions.

Cholera is a severe acute bacterial intestinal disease caused by the germ Vibrio Cholera leading to the passage of a lot of loose and watery stools.

The main signs for cholera includes frequent diarrhoea with or without vomiting.

Risk factors of cholera include poor personal hygiene, poor food hygiene, broken down water and waste disposal facilities, displaced populations with unsafe water supply and poor sanitation.

 

By Linda Naa Deide Aryeetey

 

 

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