GHS Raises Cholera Alert

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has cautioned the general public and health facilities to be on high alert for symptoms of cholera in their vicinities.

This alert comes after the Volta Regional Health Directorate confirmed cases of cholera from Aflao in the Ketu South Municipality.

According to the alert signed by the Director Public Health, Dr. Badu Sarkodie, the municipality confirmed two cases of cholera within the last week.

The two individuals, both Ghanaian traders, who were returning from a trade journey to Lagos-Nigeria, fell ill with symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting at the Aflao border.

He said, “The two were isolated for investigation and managed as suspected cholera cases and yesterday, the 24th October 2018, laboratory tests confirmed cholera. Both responded well to treatment and have been discharged.”

Dr. Sarkodie said four other people in the same vehicle who were also identified and managed as contacts and have been discharged following a three-day observation without symptoms.

“Further investigation, surveillance and other response actions are ongoing. We will follow the event very closely and provide updates as appropriate,” the alert stated.

The GHS has advised the general public and health workers in all districts to be on high alert and make extra efforts to step up activities on cholera prevention.

The alert, however, requested all regional directors of health services a to be on high alert, have higher suspicion index for cholera and make extra efforts to identify the etiologic agent responsible for diarrhoea and vomiting that meet case definition for cholera through laboratory investigations.

“Specifically, we entreat you to step up activities on cholera prevention and response actions, including public education, update of emergency preparedness and response plans on cholera and other diarrhoea diseases and enhanced surveillance.

Please remind the districts and facilities that reporting of cholera (confirmed or suspected) to next level is immediate and therefore all suspected cases should be immediately reported while investigations are ongoing,” the alert indicated.

Cholera is an acute watery diarrhoeal disease that can kill within hours if left untreated. Globally, it is estimated that 1.3 million to 4.0 million cases of cholera and 21,000 to 143,000 deaths due to cholera occur each year.

It is caused by the ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacterium vibrio cholera and is a global threat to public health and a key indicator of lack of social amenities such as safe water, hygiene and sanitation.

In 2014, a total of 28,975 cholera cases with 243 deaths were reported from 130 out of the 216 districts in all 10 regions of Ghana, according to the GHS.

In 2015, 618 cases were recorded with five deaths.

In 2016, more than 150 cholera cases were recorded in the Central Region, with no known death recorded.

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