Wear face mask & adhere to safety protocols: The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) is urging members of the public, particularly healthcare professionals, to follow infection prevention and control procedures in order to stop the spread of Lassa fever.
There are presently 13 Lassa fever cases active in Ghana, including one fatality. Around 56 people who had contact with individuals who were infected with the virus are being traced, according to the Ghana Health Service.
In a press release dated March 1, 2023, the GMA recognized the existence of the fever in Ghana and urged people to rigorously abide by the safety precautions.
“The virus spreads to humans through contact with food or household items contaminated with the urine or faeces of mice. It also spreads from one person to the other through direct contact with bodily fluids e.g. urine, blood, faeces or contaminated clothes and beddings of an infected person”.
It warned that the consequences will be dire with non-adherence to the protocols.
“This risk of spread among health professionals is high when infection prevention and control (IPC) protocols are not adhered to during the care of patients”.
The symptoms of Lassa Fever are identical to other feverish conditions but have severe outcomes.
Symptoms may include sore throat, muscle pain, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, cough, and abdominal pain and severe cases may result in bleeding from the mouth, nose, vagina or stomach.
The GMA, therefore, advised its members “to adhere strictly to IPC protocols, especially regarding the use of PPEs at all times and ensure all other members of the care team do same. In particular, wearing facemasks at all times at work, frequent handwashing or use of hand sanitizers, use of gloves and avoidance of contact with bodily fluids.”