12 new Lassa Fever cases confirmed in Ghana
Following additional testing by the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, the Ghana Health Service (GHS) has confirmed 12 new cases of Lassa Fever.
The latest cases were revealed after the GHS traced 56 contacts of the initial two cases confirmed on Sunday, February 26.
Active cases of Lassa Fever now stand at 13 according to the GHS. One person has so far died from the disease.
On Sunday, the GHS disclosed that the first case 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 is a contact of the fatal case and is currently on admission but is very stable. So far, 56 contacts have been identified and are being followed up by the Ghana Health Service.
Lassa fever (a viral hemorrhagic fever) is endemic in Benin, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria.
BRIEF FACTS ABOUT LASSA FEVER
• Lassa fever is caused by the Lassa virus and the incubation period is 2-21 days.
• The virus is transmitted to humans through contact with food or household items contaminated with rodents (Rats, Mice) urine or faeces.
• Lassa virus may also be spread between humans through direct contact with the blood, urine, faeces, or other bodily fluids of a person infected with Lassa fever. Sexual transmission of the Lassa virus has been reported.
Symptoms of Lassa fever
The early symptoms of Lassa fever may include fever and general weakness. Persons may later present with headache, sore throat, muscle pain, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, coughs, and abdominal pain.
In severe cases, there may be bleeding from the mouth, nose, vagina or stomach. Death usually occurs within 14 days of onset in fatal cases.
There is medicine (antiviral) for treatment and more effective if taken early. There is currently no vaccine that protects against Lassa fever.
Prevention relies on promoting community hygiene to discourage rodents from entering our homes. Effective measures include storing grain and other foodstuffs in rodent-proof containers, disposing of garbage far from the home, maintaining clean households and keeping cats.