GHS declares H1N1 outbreak at KUMACA over

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) says the fatal outbreak of Influenza Type A H1N1 that hit the Kumasi Academy – a senior high school in the Ashanti Region – has been defeated.

“Currently there are no more new cases and the last case was reported on the 19th December 2017.

“Having gone over two maximum incubation periods without any new reported case linked to the outbreak, we consider it appropriate to, and subsequently wish to declare the outbreak over on technical grounds,” the Public Health Division of the GHS said in press release Wednesday.

The release also says it is looking into media reports that the vaccination for Influenza-A H1N1 and Meningitis is being offered for sale to students and parents in some public health facilities across the country.

“The Ministry of Health/Ghana Health Service has initiated investigations into the allegations and the initial observations indicate that, the H1N1 vaccination exercise was conducted mainly for and restricted to the targeted school population and selected frontline health workers and was done free of charge. We further wish to state that, no H1N1 vaccines nor Meningitis vaccines have been given to any public health facility to be given to any other students,” the release clarified.

The statement adds: “If any parent or journalist has proof of vaccines being sold, he or she should contact any of the Regional or District Director of Health Service in his/her area with the evidence for further investigation and  application of necessary sanctions and disciplinary measures to the culprits.”

Read the full release below.

PRESS RELEASE: 8TH JANUARY 2018

Influenza-A H1N1 OUTBREAK IN KUMASI ACADEMY DECLARED OVER; & INFLUENZA-A / MENINGITIS VACCINES NOT FOR SALE

An outbreak of Influenza-A H1N1 was confirmed in a secondary school Kumasi Academy (Senior High School) in Ashanti Region in December 2017. Simultaneously, sporadic cases of meningitis were recorded in three secondary schools; one school in each from the Eastern, Northern and Upper East Regions.

The Influenza-A H1N1 outbreak in Kumasi Academy started on the 29th November 2017 and as of 31st December 2017, a total of 95 cases (suspected, probable and confirmed) including four (4) deaths have been reported.

The response actions towards the outbreak included: improved case management including the use of antiviral agents (Relenza and Tamiflu), enhanced surveillance, public education and vaccination against H1N1 pdm09; with coverage of over 90 % of the students and staff (teaching and non-teaching) population.

Currently, there are no more new cases and the last case was reported on the 19th December 2017.

Having gone over two maximum incubation periods without any new reported case linked to the outbreak, we consider it appropriate to, and subsequently, wish to declare the outbreak over on technical grounds.

The H1N1 outbreak in Kumasi Academy was a localized one and has since been controlled and declared over. We have instituted and strengthened systems to prevent, detect cases early and timely respond to any future occurrences to mitigate negative impact. Lessons learnt have been used to enhance school health and surveillance systems for H1N1, other Influenza-like illnesses and all priority diseases strengthened in the school and nationwide.

We wish to indicate that, the vaccination exercise was conducted free of charge to the relevant school population and frontline health providers. The focal nature of the outbreak did not require nationwide vaccination campaign.

We recommend to the general population to observe general preventive measures which include cough and sneezing etiquette, personal hygiene, handwashing with soap and water and use of hand sanitizers.

Individuals that experience symptoms of Influenza-like illness are requested to report immediately to the nearest health facility for the necessary investigations and treatment.

Signs and symptoms of Influenza A (H1N1) include the following: Fever and chills, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, headache, runny nose, diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting, fatigue (tiredness) and shortness of breath.

H1N1 can be prevented as follows: Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.

Encourage hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette of both people who are well and those who have any symptoms of H1N1. Wash your hands with soap under running water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Do best to practice personal and environmental hygiene (Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill). Report quickly to the nearest health facility. Do not self-medicate.

In other development, the attention of the Ghana Health Services has been drawn to a publication in sections of the media (Print, Electronic and Social Media) claiming the Vaccination for Influenza-A H1N1 and Meningitis is being offered for sale to students and parents in some public health facilities across the country. The Ministry of Health / Ghana Health Service has initiated investigations into the allegations and the initial observations indicate that the H1N1 vaccination exercise was conducted mainly for and restricted to the targeted school population and selected frontline health workers and was done free of charge. We further wish to state that, no H1N1 vaccines nor Meningitis vaccines have been given to any public health facility to be given to any other students.

Although the said publications could not give specific facilities that were charging for these vaccinations, it was highly speculated. In view of this, our Regional and District Directors of Health Services have been directed to investigate any complaint of the sale of vaccines that comes to their desk whether from the media or from a parent.

If any parent or journalist has proof of vaccines being sold, he or she should contact any of the Regional or District Director of Health Service in his/her area with the evidence for further investigation and application of necessary sanctions and disciplinary measures to the culprits.