Barely weeks ago there was news from Nigeria about the outbreak of the deadly Lassa Fever which had already claimed about 40 lives at the time of the reportage. As the saying goes, if your neighbor’s house is on fire, better have a bucket of water handy. We all know that what kills Nigerians will eventually kill Ghanaians because we are of the same ilk.
It hasn’t taken long for Ghana to record one death from the dangerous disease at the Tema General Hospital. The acute hemorrhagic illness is transmitted through contact with rodent excreta. We all know West Africans cohabitate with rodents and make meals of some of them so it comes as no surprise that Lassa Fever has become endemic in some parts.
The head of Disease and Surveillance at the Ghana Health Service Dr. Franklin Bekoe has assured Ghanaians that measures are being taken to avoid the outbreak of the deadly fever in the country. Speaking on Morning Starr with Francis Abban he entreated Ghanaians to be careful when consuming bush meat since it is a causative factor.
He said, “We are doing the necessary screening at our borders. We sent an alert about two or three weeks ago to let the general public know that we are at risk. We are not stereotyping bush meat but we need to be careful. The virus is in rats. Rats can come into an environment and get into contact with food or any item used by man and that can spread the virus.”
Lassa Fever is widely rumored to have no cure, but he dispelled the notion, assuring “We shouldn’t always assume that every symptom is one of malaria. We should visit the hospital when we are not well for proper checks. There is treatment for Lassa. The patient who lost his life was put on treatment but unfortunately, he lost his life”.
It is refreshing to note that there is a cure and authorities are doing their best to prevent an endemic like in Nigeria. But to be forewarned is to be forearmed, so for now no bush meat till further notice.