Health News of 2014-03-27

Prolonged malaria or typhoid could be signs of Ebola - GHS warns

The Ghana Health Service has warned that persistent malaria and typhoid conditions could be a possible symptom of the deadly Ebola virus.

Head of Disease Surveillance at the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr. Badu Sarkodie, therefore advised medical officers not to hesitate to refer such prolonged malaria or typhoid for further examination for the virus.

Parliament on Wednesday, March 26, 2014, called for an “urgent” national preparation to forestall possible outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in the country.

It follows a wave of fatal outbreaks of the virulent disease in neighboring Guinea and Liberia, where health workers have been battling to contain the virus since Monday. Over Sixty people are reported to have died after coming into contact with the disease.

The disease is said to be transmitted to humans mainly through fruit eating bats and gorillas. A cure is yet to be discovered for the disease; neither is there a vaccine to prevent it.

But Dr. Badu Sarkodie revealed on the Super Morning Show on Joy FM Thursday, that the initial presentation of the disease is similar to malaria and typhoid and urges vigilance from medical practitioners to contain it.

He said health personnel at various entry points to the country have been highly sensitized to be on the lookout for suspected cases and manage it appropriately.

"...Now that we are high alert and know that we have this problem in related neigbouring countries [Guinea], when we see people with malaria and we treat it and it's not going, let's think about Ebola as well. Take a sample, send it to the laboratory for the expertise to confirm it," he cautioned.

"We don't have the vaccine for the condition for now [but] there is specific anti-viral agent to treat it so it is very important that what we have started [public education], we sustain it [awareness]".

The Ebola virus disease (EVD) or Ebola hemorrhagic fever (EHF) is the human disease that may be caused by any of four of the five known ebola viruses. These four viruses are: Bundibugyo virus (BDBV), Ebola virus (EBOV), Sudan virus (SUDV), and Taï Forest virus (TAFV, formerly and more commonly Côte d'Ivoire Ebola virus (Ivory Coast Ebolavirus, CIEBOV). EVD is a viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF), and is clinically nearly indistinguishable from Marburg virus disease (MVD).

Persons suffering from the disease may experience bleeding from nose, mouth, coughing up blood, internal bleeding or pass bloody stool, Dr. Badu Sarkodie noted.