Ghana may now have recorded her first Ebola case. A Burkinabe man, who had fever and bled from his nose and ears “was brought in dead,” at the Bawku Presby Hospital in Ghana’s Upper East region Friday afternoon.
The Medical Director at the Hospital, Dr Joseph Yaw Manu, confirmed to StarrFMonline.com that the man had died at the time he was brought in, saying: “…What scared me most as a Medical Doctor is that he was bleeding from his ears and nose–symptoms of Ebola.”
On Dr Manu’s orders, blood samples from the deceased have been taken to the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) at the University of Ghana for testing. If positive, this would be Ghana’s first confirmed case of the virus, which has killed at least 961 people in the West African sub-region out of 1,779 total cases. Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea are among the hardest hit countries.
Nigeria started recording a few cases recently. Africa’s most populous country became the fourth West African country involved in the outbreak when a dual US-Liberian citizen infected with Ebola arrived in Lagos after flying from Liberia via Togo on 20 July.
Several cases of suspected Ebola have been reported in Ghana since the outbreak in March but they all proved negative after tests. The Government of Ghana says it has put in place measures to contain the disease if it breaks in the country. It recently said screening measures were being tightened at the country’s various borders to ensure the virus is not imported into the world’s second-largest cocoa producer.
StarrFMonline.com, learnt that the Burkinabe who just died from the Ebola-like symptoms, came down with a fever while in neighbouring Burkina Faso and was taken to a hospital for treatment in that country but saw no improvement in his condition.
His relatives then decided to transport him across the common border between Burkina Faso and Ghana’s Upper East region, for proper care. But he died on the way. His body has been taken back to a town called Sankanduri in Burkina Faso for burial, local Reporter Musah Lansa told StarrFMonline.com.
If tests by NMIMR prove positive, then the relatives of the deceased, as well as the Medical staff that attended to the patient, both in Burkina Faso and Ghana, may have also been exposed to the virus, which the World Health Organization has described as the fastest spreading “worst ever” epidemic of its kind and necessitating a declaration of an international health emergency.
“The outbreak is moving faster than we can control it,” WHO Director-General Margaret Chan told reporters on a telephone briefing from her Geneva headquarters.
The U.N. agency referred to the outbreak as “particularly serious” and said all states where the virus is having a toll on citizens and spreading from one person to another should declare a national emergency.
“The declaration … will galvanise the attention of leaders of all countries at the top level. It cannot be done by the ministries of health alone,” Chan said.
In compliance, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Liberia, have all declared a national emergency over the outbreak.
Ebola is transmitted through direct contact with fluids of an infected person, and also through the consumption of bush meat – apes, antelopes and bats – delicacies in some West African countries. The sale of bush meat in Ghana has been affected by the outbreak.
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