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General News of Sunday, 4 April 2010

Source: GNA

Mfantsipim School not closed despite cases of swine flu

Cape Coast, April 4, GNA - Mrs. Ama Benyiwa Doe, Central Regional Minister, has said that Mfantsipim School would not be closed down even though it has recorded 10 confirmed cases of Influenza H1N1 (swine flu). She said those affected were being treated at the Central Regional Hospital in Cape Coast, and appealed to parents not to panic and take their children away from school because efforts were being made to prevent the disease from spreading.

Mrs. Benyiwa-Doe who was briefing journalists on the outbreak of the disease in the region, in Cape Coast, said that so far a total of 12 Influenza HINI cases had been recorded in the area.

The Minister said that the first two cases were detected at Ayipey L/A Primary and a Junior High School in Asikuma-Odoben-Brakwa, adding that she has directed the closure of Ayipey L/A Primary. Mrs. Benyiwa-Doe said that so far 12 of the 16 blood specimens of victims of swine flu sent to the Noguchi Memorial Institute by a regional medical team, tested positive.

She said that the team had intensified its surveillance in schools in Asikuma-Odoben-Brakwa area and the Cape Coast Metropolis. Mrs. Benyiwa-Doe said that the Regional Health Directorate, Regional Security Council and heads of government institutions were jointly taking steps to deal with the problem.

She asked school authorities to ensure that any student suspected of contracting the disease reported to the hospital, adding that treatment was free of charge.

Mrs. Benyiwa-Doe called on the media to educate the public on the symptoms of the disease.

The National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) and the Ghana Health Service, on Thursday alerted the public on the threat of possible outbreak of influenza HINI (Swine Flu) in Ghana.

A statement signed by Mr. Kofi Portuphy, National Co-ordinator of NADMO, said that minors and children were the most vulnerable group and asked the public to minimize crowding at social events especially those meant for children during the Easter holidays.

It said that "the transmission of the disease was from human to human, through droplets, released during coughing, sneezing and touching surfaces contaminated with body fluids, secreted by infected persons, and touching the eyes, nose and mouth without washing hands." The statement said the signs and symptoms of the disease included coughing, sneezing, fever, chills, runny nose, head ache, vomiting, sore throat and body aches.

It said that "the complications of the disease may lead to pneumonia and difficulty in breathing and that prevention of infection is through observance of good personal hygiene by washing hands with soaps and water as often as possible especially after touching surfaces and shaking hands." The statement advised the public to report to the nearest health facility after observing any one or more of the signs and symptoms and avoid crowded environments to prevent spreading the disease to others.