The Ghana Health Service has released a statement dated 26th February, 2023, reporting two cases of the Lassa Fever in Accra, of which one has been reported dead from the disease at the Korle Bu-Teaching Hospital and the other currently on admission.
In the statement, the Ghana Health Service has mentioned measures it is taking to handle the situation, which are;
Public Health Emergency Management committees at all levels (National, Regions and Districts),
Detailed investigation including environmental assessment,
Mobilisation of essential medications and logistics including Personal Protecting Equipment (PPE),
Contact tracing and management,
Quarantine of case contacts observed and daily follow up by health staff,
Institution of Strict Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) with barrier nursing,
Sensitization of health staff on Lassa fever,
Community sensitization and education on Lassa fever.
Symptoms of the disease, according to the Ghana Health Service include fever and general weakness at the early stages of the disease.At the later phase, infected persons experience headache, sore throat, muscle pain, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, cough, and abdominal pain. Severe cases may include bleeding from the mouth, nose, vagina or stomach. Death usually occurs within 14 days of onset in fatal cases.
The Health Service has advised the general public to practise community hygiene to discourage rodents in homes, store grain and other foodstuffs in rodent-proof containers, dispose of garbage far from the home, maintaining clean households and keeping cats to effectively prevent and control the spread of the disease. The public is also advised to avoid contact with blood and body fluids while caring for sick persons.
There is antiviral medicine for treatment which is much effective if taken early. No vaccine currently exists for Lassa fever.
The public is to take note of these developments and are advised to follow the directives from the Ghana Health Service to aid in the control and management of the disease outbreak.
Lassa fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic disease endemic in most West African countries such as Benin, Ghana, Mali, and especially Nigeria.
Originating in a town in Nigeria called Lassa, after which it was named, it is caused by the Lassa virus with an incubation period of 2 to 21 days. It is primarily transmitted to humans either through direct contact with infected rodents, or through food or household items contaminated with the urine or faeces of infected rodents.
Lassa fever can also be transmitted from human-to-human through direct contact with blood or bodily fluids of an infected person and is common during the dry season, from November to May.
Recent data on Lassa Fever outbreaks has confirmed a total of 531 cases in Nigeria within the first six weeks of 2023, including 85 deaths from the disease within that same period.
Read the statement below for more information.