Health News of Monday, 28 October 2013
Source: The Finder
Medical researchers from Korle Bu, Noguchi and Port Health are keeping a 10-day watch on the mouth and nose swabs taken from the first returning batch of this year’s Ghanaian pilgrims to Mecca.
This year’s Hajj took place amidst heightened fear around the world over the Middle East Virus, a deadly virus that had infected a number of people and visitors to Saudi Arabia.
To ensure that any case of infection would be dealt with quickly, the first 319 pilgrims who arrived at dawn yesterday around 4am were taken through a medical screening by a medical team constituted to deal with the threat.
Although coughing is one of the symptoms of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) Corona virus, and there was a lot of coughing among the pilgrims during the screening exercise, it is only after 10 days that the pilgrims will know whether they have contracted the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) Corona virus, as the virus has a 10-day incubation period.
The medical team, which is composed of bio-chemists from the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, Port Health, a unit within Ghana Health Service, and researchers from the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, was still screening the first batch of pilgrims at the Hajj Villages as at the time of going to press yesterday.
The second batch of pilgrims was expected to arrive at 5pm yesterday.
Swabs from the mouth (oropharyngeal) and nose (nasopharyngeal) of pilgrims collected by the medical team were sent to the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, University of Ghana, for assessment.
“When anything comes up during the assessment period we will call the individual pilgrim and see to the issue,” a member of the medical team who spoke on condition of anonymity disclosed to The Finder.
A staff of Port Health, a unit within the Ghana Health Service, present at the screening told The Finder that the screening process was necessary to make sure that the virus does not spread in case any of the pilgrims has contracted it.
MERS Corona virus is a droplet infection, hence the collection of the swabs.
As at September 30 this year, data provided by the Center for Disease Control of WHO showed that 130 people from eight different countries have contracted the disease and 58 of them have lost their lives.
Saudi Arabia, where the disease was discovered, topped the cases with 108 and 47 deaths, followed by the United Arab Emirates with two deaths resulting from six cases.
The others are Qatar, three deaths from five cases; United Kingdom, two deaths from three; Jordan, two deaths from two cases; France, one death from three, and Italy recorded one case.