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GHS confirms two Lassa Fever cases in Ghana; both cases reside in Accra

GHS confirms two Lassa Fever cases in Ghana; both cases reside in Accra

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has said it received notification of two confirmed Lassa fever cases from the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research on 24th February, 2023.

Both cases reside in Accra, the GHS said.

The first case, according to a statement issued by the Director General of the GHS Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye on Sunday, was a 40-year-old trader, who was unwell for a period of about two weeks and finally died at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital.

The second case, who is a contact of the fatal case, is currently on admission but is very stable. So far, 56 contacts have been identified and are being followed up.

Lassa fever is a viral animal borne illness transmitted by rats in some countries of West Africa.For example, Benin, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria. Ghana recorded its first case in 2011, the GHS said. The virus is transmitted to humans through contact with food or household items contaminated with rodent (Rats, Mice) urine or faeces.

The signs and symptoms of Lassa Fever is usually gradual. Its starts with 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 from the mouth, nose, vagina and low blood pressure may develop.Approximately, 15%-20% of patients hospitalized for Lassa Fever die from illness. However, only 1% of all Lassa virus infections results in death.

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Following the notification, the underlisted public health measures have been undertaken.

Public Health Emergency Management committees at all levels (National, Regions and Districts) have been activated. Detailed investigation including environmental assessment has started. Essential medications and logistics including Personal Protecting Equipment (PPE) are being mobilized. Contact tracing and management are on-going.

Quarantine of contacts has been instituted and daily follow up by health staff is ongoing.
Strict Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) with barrier nursing has been instituted.
Sensitization of health staff on Lassa fever has started. Community sensitization and education on Lassa fever are ongoing.

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