The Ghana Health Service has issued an alert to all Regional Directors of Health Services and CEOs of Teaching Hospitals for Lassa Fever following an outbreak in Nigeria which has claim 31 lives.
The alert urged the various health institutions to enhance surveillance for Lassa fever and Acute Haemorrhagic Fevers in general.
“The Ministry of Health of Nigeria has confirmed and subsequently declared Lassa fever outbreak which has affected about 18 states with over 300 cases and 31 deaths. The outbreak has been on-going for the past six weeks and has necessitated urgent spontaneous national response actions among all neighbouring countries. Lassa fever outbreak has been recurrent in Nigeria and the current outbreak has affected health workers in some states,” the alert stated.
Among other recommendations, the Health Service noted that suspected cases must be treated in isolation and advised health workers to adhere to regular Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) measures to prevent and protect against possible transmission.
General information on Lass fever
Lassa fever is an Acute Viral Haemorrhagic Fever illness which is endemic in the West Africa. The incubation period is 6-21 days.
The onset of the fever has non-specific signs and symptoms but fever, general weakness and malaise have been noted in its early stages.
This is followed by headaches, sore throat, muscle pain, chest pain, vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pains.
Severe cases may progress to show facial swelling, and bleeding while Shock, seizures, disorientation, and coma may be seen in the late stages.
About 80 % of Lassa Fever infections are mild or asymptomatic.