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Swine flu cases continue to rise in Ghana

Accra, Sept. 3, Ghanadot/GNA – A total of 10 cases of influenza H1N1 (swine flu) have now been confirmed in the country, according to an update of the pandemic issued by the Ghana Health Service (GHS) on Thursday.

It said the first eight cases had been “well managed and discharged”, adding that “the last two cases are under treatment and doing well”.

The GHS said the contacts of the last two cases were also being closely monitored, and that they were cooperating with health staff.
“For almost all the episodes, persons in households became infected indicating the need for high personal hygiene and self isolation to help prevent/reduce transmission.”

It said a total of 121 specimens, comprising 86 suspected cases and 35 contacts, had so far been investigated at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research’s National Influenza Centre.

The pandemic influenza H1N1 2009 is caused by a virus that affects the respiratory system and typically spreads through coughs and sneezes or by touching contaminated surfaces.

The disease, which may present itself like a common cold with cough, sore throat, fever, catarrh, general weakness, body ache and headache, and sometimes vomiting or diarrhoea, may also lead to severe pneumonia with difficulty in breathing, rapid breathing and chest pain.

Symptoms can last up to a week, and complications of the disease include pneumonia and difficulty in breathing.

The disease is highly transmissible, with majority of cases presented as mild diseases, especially in younger people.

As measures to address the situation, the GHS has dispatched 50,000 capsules of Tamiflu medication used to treat influenza H1N1 to all regions to manage cases that may occur.

In addition, Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research has ordered laboratory logistics worth GH¢40,000 to enhance laboratory test of identified specimens suspected to be influenza H1N1.

Personal protective equipment such as a specially made face mask N95 that could prevent transmission, gloves and aprons have been dispatched to health personnel throughout the country for use when handling suspected influenza cases.

Regional and district hospitals have earmarked isolation wards to receive cases, and these facilities have been inspected by regional health directors.


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