Swine flu vaccines for KUMACA students unavailable – Health officials

Health officials say the vaccines to be administered to the students are yet to arrive in Ghana

Health authorities in the Ashanti Region say swine flu vaccines to be administered to students of Kumasi Academy (KUMACA) where an outbreak of the disease has so far claimed four lives are not yet available in the country.

A total of 85 students of the Kumasi Academy were affected with the H1N1 influenza Type A virus, popularly known as swine flu virus since November 30, 2017.

Eleven of the affected are currently on admission at four hospitals in Kumasi but officials say they are also in stable condition.

On Tuesday, they announced at a news conference that the outbreak has been contained to prevent further spread.

“The situation at KUMACA is under control now because for the past three days we have not recorded any case of swine flu among the students,” he told journalists

He said the11 students on admission” are recovering very fast,” noting they would be” discharged before the close of the week”.

Swine flu vaccines not ready

Addressing journalists, Ashanti Regional Health Director, Dr. Emmanuel Tinkorang, however said the swine flu vaccines to be administered to the students are yet to be made available in the country.

Dr. Tenkorang addressing the news conference Tuesday

“Even though the vaccines are yet to arrive in the country, the current situation in the school is safe for both students and staff”.

He said notwithstanding, the health directorate has strengthened surveillance on the students to ensure prompt administering of antiviral drugs which begun on December 5, 2017.

The health directorate insisted the cause of death of the four students is the H1N1 flu despite disputes by some medical doctors and the bereaved families.

Health authorities struggled to identify the disease until Thursday, December 7, 2017 when officials announced tests have revealed the disease as H1N1.

READ: KUMACA students died of swine flu – Health Minister

Ahead of that, students were between given broad spectrum antibiotics with the hope of preventing further spread of the then unknown disease which was suspected caused by atypical bacterial.

Twenty-six blood samples were sent to Noguchi to be tested for Ebola, Marburg and Lassa but all came out negative, ruling out fears of the cause of deaths being Ebola as earlier speculated.

Fifty-five samples which were sent to Kumasi Center for Collaborative Research (KCCR),with 13 blood samples,15 throat swabs and 10 Cerebro-spinal fluids to be tested for Meningitis, Encephalitis and Viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF), all tested negative as well.

Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman Manu on Thursday revealed laboratory test results from the Noguchi Memorial Centre for Medical Research showed that majority of the samples from the students of KUMACA tested Positive for Influenza Type-A H1N1.

Since Sunday, December 10, 2017 authorities have been fumigating the entire school.Meanwhile, the directorate has received 800 boxes of Relenza and 1,000 pieces of respirators from the Women’s Health to Wealth for the treatment and prevention of Influenza A and B viruses.

Also, some parents have started sending their wards back to the school.

By Ibrahim Abubakar||Ghana

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