The Ministry of Health (MOH) has directed all agencies under its jurisdiction to increase surveillance at all health facilities following an emergence of what it described as a “strange” disease in Liberia.
A memo issued to all concerned agencies of the ministry said the Ministry of the Interior had advised the MOH to increase disease surveillance at all levels of the national health system to prevent the spread of the strange disease.
The Interior Ministry underscored the need to promote infection prevention and control mechanism at health facilities as part of preparations to prevent the spread of the unknown disease to Ghana through the borders and the airport.
The disease, yet to be identified, according to the Ghana Immigration Service, has claimed 11 lives in Liberia while at least nine more people have been infected by the disease.
“The symptoms reported by the victims mainly are headache, weakness, diarrhoea, vomiting, mental confusion, abdominal pain and fever,” the Ministry of the Interior has said.
Liberia Health Authorities
The Liberian Health Minister, Ms Bernice Dahn, is reported to have said that although the symptoms of the strange disease were similar to Ebola, initial tests showed that the disease was not Ebola.
She said blood samples had been sent for analysis to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States.
“Health authorities were made aware of the unknown disease on April 25, when several people died in south-eastern Sinoe County,” she said.
Ms Dahn said medical doctors suspected the disease was transmitted through body contact.
She said the World Health Organisation (WHO) had sent rapid response teams to the area to assist Liberian health officials with technical and logistical support.
“The teams were investigating reports linking the disease to attendance at the funeral of a religious leader in Sinoe County.”