GHS Issues Lassa Fever Alert Calls For Testing Of Suspected Cases
The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has issued an alert over the outbreak of Lassa Fever in some countries in West Africa sub-region including Liberia, Nigeria, and the Togo. The Service has subsequently directed health facilities nationwide to send suspected cases of Lassa Fever to the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research for
investigation. The directive, according to a statement signed by the Director General, Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, said the move has become necessary given proximity of the affected countries, both geographically and through travel, to Ghana. All suspected cases of the Lassa Fever should be investigated in line with protocols outlined in
Ghana’s IDSR Technical Guidelines with strict adherence to infection prevention and control protocols, it said. The statement raised the need for heightened surveillance to also ensure the prompt identification and the appropriate investigation of any suspected case. The Lassa Fever is caused by the Lassa virus transmitted from Mastomys
rats to the humans primarily through food or also items contaminated with the rat faeces or urine. Human-to-human transmission can also occur to a lesser extent in instances of direct contact with body fluids, blood, and secretions of infected individuals. In line with the 3rd Edition of Ghana’s Integrated Disease Surveillance and
Response (IDSR) Strategy, the statement said following case definitions were to be applied in suspecting and investigating for the Lassa Fever. They were illness with gradual onset with one or more of the following malaise, fever, headache, sore throat, cough, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, myalgia, chest pain, hearing loss and a history
of contact with excreta of rodents or with a case of the Lassa Fever. A suspected case that was also laboratory confirmed (positive IgM antibody, PCR, or virus isolation) or epidemiologically linked to a laboratory confirmed case, was considered as a confirmed case of the Lassa Fever, the statement said. The statement admonished
the Chief Executive Officers or leadership of the various regional health facilities to also bring the directive to the notice of all relevant staff in their respective regions and facilities.