One person has been confirmed dead in Accra from Lassa fever, an acute viral haemorrhagic illness.
Director of Ghana Health Service, Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, confirmed this to 3FM’s Sarah Parku Thursday after rumours Wednesday.
He, however, declined to give details on case except to say “there will be a press release by close of work today”.
Lassa fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic illness transmitted to humans through contact with food or household items contaminated with rodent urine or faeces.The viruses, which are often transmitted by rodents and bats, can cause fever, vomiting and bleeding, are often fatal.
It is known to be endemic in Benin where it was diagnosed for the first time in November 2014.
Ghana recorded the first case in October 2011, and the Ghana Health Service is currently on the alert following 31 reported deaths in Nigeria.
Rumours emerged Wednesday that the first case of the disease has been recorded in Accra , a month after the Ghana Health Service issued a public health alert warning Ghanaians of a possible outbreak in the country.
Unconfirmed information received by 3news.com suggests the disease was recorded at the Tema General Hospital in the Greater Accra Region.
Samples were subsequently submitted to the Noguchi Memorial Institute for laboratory test which, our sources say, confirmed the blood contained the lassa virus.
Public health alert
The Ghana Health Service in early February issued an alert on the disease following outbreaks in neighboring countries.
But the Director of the Ghana Public Health Service, Dr. Badu Sarkodie, later assured Ghanaians his outfit was prepared to contain lassa fever should there be an outbreak in the country.
“Should there be a case for now, we can be very definite to detect it, pick the necessary lab test for specimen for investigation and then we can manage it appropriately and adequately within the country,” told TV3.
He revealed they were holding centers to handle possible cases, indicating “the holding centers that we had at the time of Ebola at Tema, it’s readily available. If you go in there it’s still functional and the one in Tamale was recently commissioned”.
In October 2017, Reuters quoted a study conducted by the Lancet Medical journal which warned that West Africa was most at risk of fatal haemorrhagic fever epidemics, including lassa fever and Ebola and called for greater preparedness to save lives.
The study in assessed the likelihood of four viruses – Ebola, Lassa, Marburg and Crimean-Congo – spreading on the continent, charting progress from a first human case through to a potential pandemic.
By Stephen Kwabena Effah|3news.com|Ghana