Three persons are reported to have died following an outbreak of Yellow Fever in the West Gonja district in the Northern Region.
So far 12 cases of the disease have been reported in the district, a statement issued by the Ministry of Health in Accra has said.
The statement, signed by the Head of Public Relations Unit of the ministry, Tony Goodman, also confirmed the outbreak of meningitis in the Tain district in the Brong Ahafo Region.
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It said “as at January 6, 2016, 30 suspected cases with seven deaths have been recorded of the meningitis in the district, while a total of 12 cases of Yellow Fever have been reported out of which three have so far died since the end of 2015”.
“Typically with this kind of meningitis, fatality is high but potential for massive spread is low,” the statement added.
It, however, indicated that, “this is not Epidemic Meningococcal Disease or CSM, which is caused by Neisseria meningitides, which has potential for massive and widespread outbreaks”.
Yellow fever is “an acute febrile illness that presents with fever and jaundice (yellowish discolouration of the eyes), muscle pain with prominent backache, and headache”.
It may be associated with bleeding tendencies and the disease is transmitted through the bite of infected mosquitoes (Aedes mosquitoes).
Symptoms appear after an incubation period of three to six days following the bite of the mosquitoes. Most patients improve and their symptoms resolve after three to four days.
However, about 15 per cent of patients enter a second and more toxic phase within 24 hours of the initial remission. High fever returns and is accompanied by severe multisystem illness, the statement further indicated.
Meningitis is an inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord (meninges) and its causes include bacterial, viral, parasites and even chemical.
Bacterial meningitis is caused by various bacterial pathogens. Neisseria meningitides, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemphilus influenza type B represents the triad responsible for over 80 per cent of all cases of bacterial meningitis
Signs and symptoms of meningitis include sudden onset of severe headache, fever, vomiting, neck stiffness and photophobia (dislike for light). Other symptoms include lethargy, coma and convulsions. In babies, there may be bulging of the anterior fontanelle (soft part of the head).
The Ministry of Health commended the regions and districts where the cases had been reported, describing their responses so far as “appropriate and adequate and we expect these response actions to contain and halt the outbreak”.
“We wish to indicate that the Ministry of Health is doing everything possible to contain the situation and we count on the support and cooperation of all,” the statement assured the public.