Consuming bush meat does not cause Lassa fever – Dr Opoku Adusei clarifies

BY: George Ernest Asare
 Dr Opoku Adusei adressing the staff of GCGL in Accra on Saturday
Dr Opoku Adusei adressing the staff of GCGL in Accra on Saturday

The Medical Director of Tema General Hospital, Dr Kwabena Opoku Adusei, has debunked public assertion that consuming bush meat, including rodents, will infect them with Lassa fever, leading to their possible death.

According to Dr Opoku Adusei, Lassa fever could only spread or affect people when their foodstuffs were contaminated with faeces and urine of infected rodents.

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Lassa fever is a viral disease detected in the village of Lassa in Nigeria in 1969. 

Dr Opoku Adusei said houseflies, cockroaches and other termites could also spread the disease anytime they fed on the droplets of infected rodents and settled on consumable foodstuffs, water and other drinkables.

He was addressing the staff of Graphic Communications Group Limited  (GCGL) during their annual Samuel Konadu Memorial Games at the El.-Wak Stadium last Saturday.

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The acting Managing Director of GCGL, Mr Ransford Tetteh, other directors of the company and Dr Opoku Adusei joined the staff  of GCGL in a two-hour heallth walk that preceeded the games.

Dr Opoku Adusei said food, including bush meat and rats, prepared in hygienic environment and devoid of any form of contamination would not infect consumers with Lassa fever.

The 2018  Samuel Konadu Memorial Games was won by the Newspapers Department of the company with seven medals.

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The department hauled seven gold medals while the defending champions,Technical Services of the company, placed second.

Commending management for organising the annual games, Dr Opoku Adusei  said it was important for the public to prevent the disease by always ensuring that they lived in a clean environment.

“You should always live in clean and healthy environment, and also ensure that you prepare your food very well and in a healthy environment to avoid any form of contamination.

Bush meat prepared  very well will not have any adverse effect on you when you consume,” he said.

He said it was equally important for the public to seek medical care as soon as they detected symptons of the disease which included seizures, pain in the chest, back and abdomen, swollen face, difficulty in breathing, vomiting and diarrhoea, stomach ache and cough

First case

According to Dr Opoku Adusei, investigations conducted on the first case of Lassa fever recorded in Ghana at the Tema General Hospital, a few months ago, indicated that the patient never lived in the village for him to have consumed contaminated rodents.

He said the patient might have been infected by indirectly eating foodstuffs that had the droplets of infected animals, cockroaches or houseflies, hence, the need to  ensure personal and environmental  hygiene at all times.


Touching on stress, Dr Opoku Adusei, the immediate past President of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), said  it was important for workers to  spend much time to  exercise and  socialise to avoid or reduce stress.

He said being consumed with their core duties without adequate rest could also lead to stress, which could also cause hypertension and other forms of diseases.

He charged workers to seek regular medical examination to ensure that they were always healthy.

Dr Opoku Adusei also educated the staff on other diseases common among the working class such as diabetes and hypertension and their effects on their health.


He said while some workers took their medications and exercised religiously when hit with stroke, they were reluctant to do so when they were healthy.

He urged the management of GCGL  to sustain the games,  saying  it offered staff opportunity to exercise to improve their health.

Acting MD

The acting Managing Director of GCGL, Mr Ransford Tetteh, commended the staff for participating in the games and, particularly, the Newspapers Department for emerging as the new champions.

“In spite of your numeruos social responsibilities, you spent time to participate fully in this games. I commend you for that and urge you to sustain it to make the games more interesting,”  he said.