According to the Ghana Health Service (GHS), 12 new cases of Lassa Fever have been reported in Ghana.
The cases were revealed after the GHS tracked down 56 contacts from the first two confirmed cases on Sunday, February 26, 2023.
In Ghana, there are currently 13 active cases of Lassa Fever.
So far, one person has died as a result of the disease.
“This brings to 14 the total number of confirmed cases for the outbreak… One death has so far been recorded. All 13 cases are alive and in stable condition and are being managed in designated health facilities. A total of 97 contacts have been identified and efforts are underway to identify more contacts,”, a statement dated February 28, 2023, and signed by Director General of GHS, Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye said.
He added that “a probable case has been reported from Central Region and contacts are being identified and monitored while we await confirmation. Psychological support is being provided for all cases and contacts.”
Lassa fever is an Acute Viral Haemorrhagic Fever illness that is endemic in West Africa.
The incubation period ranges from 6 to 21 days. The onset of LF illness is frequently gradual, with non-specific signs and symptoms, and frequently presents with fever, general weakness, and malaise at the outset.
Headache, sore throat, muscle pain, chest pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain may occur after a few days. Severe cases may progress to show facial swelling, bleeding tendencies (from the mouth, nose, vagina, or gastrointestinal tract, and low blood pressure.
In the later stages, shock, seizures, disorientation, and coma may occur. During recovery, complications such as deafness, transient hair loss, and gait disturbance may occur. Approximately 80% of Lassa Fever infections are asymptomatic or mild.
Lassa fever virus is transmitted to humans through contact with food or household items contaminated with the rodent’s urine, saliva, feces, and blood (Multi-mammate rat).
Person-to-person infections and laboratory transmission are also possible, especially in hospitals that do not have adequate infection prevention and control measures in place.
The disease is endemic in parts of West Africa’s rodent population, and the multi-mammate rat serves as a virus reservoir.
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Lassa fever is endemic in Benin, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone, and parts of Nigeria, but it is also likely in other West African countries.
Ghana recorded the first confirmed case(s) in 2011, and two districts, one each in the Ashanti and Eastern regions, then confirmed Lassa fever outbreaks.
Using Ribavarine early (within seven days of disease onset), supportive care with rehydration, and symptomatic treatment increases survival.
At the moment, there is no effective vaccine for the disease.
The full statement is available below: