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General News of Monday, 4 April 2011

Source: GNA

New outbreak of pandemic influenza H1N1 2009 reported at Achimota

Accra, April 4, GNA - Thirteen pandemic influenza H1N1 2009 confirme= d cases, have been reported at the Achimota Hospital which is a designated Influenza Sentinel Site.

Saint John's School at Achimota has recorded nine of the confirmed cases with the rest coming from Achimota, Alogboshie, Mile Seven and Tesano= .. Speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in an interview in Accra on Monday, Dr Cynthia Kwaakye-Maclean, Ga West District Health Director confirmed the cases and said they were all being managed. She said public education had been extended to the school and other communities affected.

"We have enough Tamaflu (the drug for H1N1) and we are administering the medicines to them in addition to intensive public education," she add= ed. Dr George Mensah, Acting Accra Metropolitan Director of Health, also confirmed the recorded cases in the district. He said the situation was under control with the administering of Tamaflu drugs. Mr Michael Garr, Disease Control Officer at the Influenza Sentinel Sit= e at Achimota Hospital, confirmed the cases with GNA, saying the confirmed cases were recorded from March 1 to 23, this year. He said patients reported of coughing, sneezing and fever and that thei= r specimen were taken to the laboratory for test 93and all the laboratory te= sts confirmed positive."

Mr Garr said public education should be intensified to prevent further spread of the disease. The disease hit the country in August 2009, with travellers as victims. It is caused by a virus that affects the respiratory system and typically spreads through coughs and sneezes or by touching contaminated surfaces.

The disease, which may present itself like common cold with cough, sore throat, fever, catarrh, general weakness, body ache and headache, and sometimes vomiting or diarrhoea, may also lead to severe pneumonia with difficulty in breathing, rapid breathing and chest pain with symptoms lasting up to a week.

The disease is highly transmissible, with majority of cases presented as mild sickness especially in younger people. Regular hand-washing with soap and water, hand rubbing with alcohol, keeping a distance from infected persons and wearing of protected clothing by those taking care of patients, are some of the measures to stop the spread of the virus.

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