The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has issued a red alert following an outbreak of the deadly Ebola and Marburg diseases in neighbouring Ivory Coast and Guinea.
According to the GHS in a statement released a few days ago, it has intensified surveillance at Ghana’s borders to tackle any potential influx of patients.
Ivory Coast, confirmed a case of Ebola on Saturday, August 14, 2021, while the Marburg virus has already claimed several lives in Guinea since the outbreak was reported on August 9, 2021.
All regional and district health directorates across the country have been put on stern standby to immediately institute Marburg and Ebola preparedness and response systems to prevent the diseases from entering Ghana.
“The Ghana Health Service and its partners have activated our systems since the onset. We have structures for all our rapid response at the borders, and they have been alerted with the fact about both Ebola and Marburg. Alerts have been sent to the regions and the district about the Marburg operation. The Ebola one will be leaving today, but we have started discussions with all our regional leaders, so they start preparations for that. The good thing is that some interventions that are currently in place can also be used to respond to this. Ghana has the capacity to test such cases at Noguchi for both the Ebola and Marburg disease. Public education and sensitization have already been initiated”, Director General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye said at a media engagement on Sunday.
“We are going to heighten the public health surveillance at our borders, especially the Western border where we have Ivory Coast and countries where we have discovered the virus. Currently, the borders are closed, we have to ensure that those necessary checks are done for those who will enter illegally. So we are currently collaborating with the Immigration Service to ensure that these things are sorted out. We are equipping our port health staff, so they can screen and look at that. ”
Marburg virus is a haemorrhagic fever virus that has high fatality rate. It belongs to the same family of disease-causing pathogens like the Ebola virus which is equally as contagious and deadly.
The first-ever Marburg outbreak was in Germany in 1967 where seven people died.
In Africa, previous outbreaks and sporadic cases have been reported in Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, South Africa, and Uganda, the World Health Organization (WHO) says.
Cases are extremely rare, with the last major outbreak in Angola in 2005.
The virus killed more than 200 people in Angola in 2005, the deadliest outbreak on record, according to the global health body.
With Ghana currently contending with the raging COVID-19pandemic, an additional viral epidemic will constitute a high national security threat, experts tell Whatsup News.