Health Minister Kwaku Agyemang Manu has disclosed that laboratory investigations by the Noguchi Memorial Institute into the strange deaths of 4 students of Kumasi Academy Senior High School have tested positive for the Influenza Type-A H1N1 2009 pandemic strain.
Further results are being awaited from the Kumasi Center for Collaborative Research (KCCR) where more samples from reported cases have also been sent for laboratory investigations.
The announcement follows a week of panic at the Kumasi-based school after a number of students reported sudden acute respiratory difficulties and were admitted to the KNUST Hospital.
Four of the victims died subsequently, causing fear among students, school authorities and parents, some of who rushed in to whisk their wards home.
But according to the Health Minister, the outbreak of the acute respiratory infection with severe presentations was fortunately, “confined to a small area” of the school.
The Minister told a press conference in Accra that “Following the review of the case definition, appropriate samples (throat swabs) were taken and immediately sent to Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research and Kumasi Center for Collaborative Research for laboratory investigations.
“Of the nineteen (19) samples sent to NOGUCHI twelve (12) tested Positive for Influenza Type-A. About two (2) hours ago, report on further tests was received confirming Influenza Type A H1N1 2009 pandemic strain.”
The outbreak began on 30th November 2017 and as at Thursday, December 7, a total of 44 cases including the four deaths have been reported, with a Case Fatality rate of 9.1%.
Meanwhile the Ministry, the Ghana Health Service and the Ghana Education Service have recommended that students remain on campus to enable final conclusions on response actions, including accessing vaccines, procuring antiviral agents (TAMIFLU) for case management, and strengthening case management including strict adherence to infection prevention and control measures.