Ebola Screening

Ebola ScreeningThe Brong Ahafo Regional Directorate of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) has designated seven hospitals as holding centres for possible Ebola Viral Disease (EVD) cases in the region.

These are the Brong Ahafo Regional Hospital at Sunyani, and the hospitals at Sampa, Goaso, Dormaa Ahenkro, Techiman, Yeji and Nsawkaw.

Dr Kofi Issah, Deputy Director of Public Health (DDPH) at the Directorate announced this at an Emergency Epidemic Management Committee meeting on Ebola and Cholera in Sunyani on Thursday.

He said among the measures instituted are activation of disease outbreak plans in all the 27 municipal and districts in the region, orientation of management and staff in all hospitals to assess the preparedness level of border districts and border posts.

Dr Issah said no case on EVD has been confirmed in Ghana to date, but 17 suspected cases have been reported, four in Ashanti Region, three in Eastern Region, six in Greater Accra Region one in Upper East Region and three in Brong-Ahafo Region.

?All tested negative for Ebola and other Viral Haemorrhagic Fever viruses (Marburg, Dengue, Lassa, West Nile, Yellow fever) by PCR testing done at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR)?.

Dr Issah said the suspected cases in the region are recorded at Bechem in Tano South District and Berekum in Berekum Municipality and they are being held in holding centres for observation.

He said 270 pieces of protective clothing have been distributed to health workers in the region, sensitization of the public through jingles and radio discussions, assessment of port health activities, stocking of Intravenous Infusion (IV) fluids and disinfectants for management of cases.

Dr Issah said the collaboration of stakeholders in the region is necessary because it has an international border with La Cote d?Ivoire, which also shares a western border with Liberia and Guinea.

There are highly mobile farming and hunting communities, which come into contact with wild game, cultural rites and rituals on care for the sick and dealing with the dead normally involves close physical contact with the sick or dead.

In addition, the forests of the region serve as habitats for animals which could possibly transmit the disease, the sale and consumption of game by many communities in the region, noting that, there exist bat colonies in certain communities of the region and lack of adequate information to the general public on the EVD.

Dr Issah said during an outbreak, those at higher risk of infection are, health workers, family members or others in close contact with infected people, mourners who have direct contact with the bodies of the deceased as part of burial ceremonies, and hunters in the rain forest, who come into contact with dead animals found lying in the forest.

On mode of infection, he said these are, persons to persons, live or dead animals to persons, contact with blood, saliva, sweat, semen, skin or vaginal secretions, needles and respiratory not yet demonstrated in humans but possible in animals in the laboratory.

Dr Issah said tips for successful response to EVD are to avoid fear, panic and denial which hinder effective response, provide good and timely information and be transparent in providing information on all operations.

Others are to focus at the most affected areas and especially recent ones, be flexible and adjust strategy as things may change (risk factors, new behavioral risks) in the course of the outbreak, timely investigation of rumours and suspected cases, special attention to traditional healers, traditional practices, vendors of bush meat, cleaners, drivers of ambulances, quality of PPEs, removal of PPEs, and community participation which is key for success.

On Cholera, Dr Issah said Atebubu and Pru Districts reported cases in 2011, 2012 and the issue is with the increasing problems with sanitation in urban areas in the region and the development of slums, the centralized location of the region means movement of people including the sick from north to south and vice versa, and the region is located in a transition zone of Ghana (climatic and vegetational).

He said the commercial town of Techiman and the central location of Kintampo and Yeji, with accompanying lorry parks and markets with poor hygiene serve as an ?exchange centre? for diseases.

Dr Issah said two cases recorded in Nkoranza South Municipality recently are residents in Taifa Accra.

He said the first patient developed symptoms last week and came home for treatment, while the second young man had through the mass media heard about the disease and when he developed symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting, took some antibiotics and then arrived in Nkoranza.

Dr Issah said both patients had their stools taken and these tested positive for cholera.

He said the patients stay with other young men who hail from the region and eat from one common source.




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