Medical lab scientists advised against sample test of suspected Ebola

The Ghana Association of Biomedical Laboratory Scientist (GABLS) has asked its members not to carry out medical laboratory investigations on suspected cases of Ebola in labs of clinics and hospitals not equipped for such tests.

Practitioners are also cautioned against taking any sample from a suspected Ebola infected individual expect with the recommended personal protective equipment (PPE).

President of the Association, Prince Sokode Amuzu, says the directive is in line with standard practice as a precautionary measure to save lives.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend that all clinical samples suspected of viral haemorrhagic fever viruses, including the Ebola virus, are to be processed at a certified class II biosafety cabinet and by medical laboratory professionals highly trained in handling such samples.

Most hospital medical laboratories in Ghana however operate below the required standard and biosafety levels.

The GABLS therefore wants the Health Ministry “to consider providing medical laboratory facilities in those isolation facilities to support the management of all suspected and confirmed Ebola virus diseases while providing all medical personnel with the necessary PPE”.

Ghana is yet to record any Ebola infection but the country is on high alert for any possible outbreak.

A total of 1,350 have died in four countries – Guinea, Liberaia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

According to Prince Amuzu, “infection prevention measures are important in preventing transmission of bola virus disease.”

He has also called for the speedy launching of the National Health Laboratory Policies, which he believes, would have put medical laboratory practice and the nation in a better stead in such situations as the preparedness for the containments of epidemic outbreaks of Cholera and Ebola virus currently threatening public health.

Story by Kofi Adu Domfeh

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