The Ghana Health Service has issued a health alert about the outbreak of polio in Chereponi in the Northern Region which it says constitutes a public health emergency of national concern.
A statement from the health service said Poliomyelitis affected a 2-year-old girl who was on admission at the Chereponi District Hospital last month.
“The Ministry of Health/Ghana Health Service has received report of confirmed Poliomyelitis from the National Polio Laboratory, in the sample from a two (2)-year eight (8) month old girl with Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) from Andonyama in Chereponi sub-district of Chereponi district in the Northern Region. The child was seen at Chereponi District Hospital on July 27 with sudden onset of weakness in both lower limbs. Stool samples were taken as part of routine polio surveillance on 27th July, 2019 and sent to the National Polio Laboratory at Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research for laboratory investigations and the sample tested positive as per result received on 17th August, 2019,” the statement said.
It noted that it is currently managing the case at the Chereponi District Hospital and a number of actions have been put in place to deal with the situation.
Among other things, the Ghana Health Service said a team has been deployed to assist the regional and district teams to carry out a detailed investigation.
The service said it is “working tirelessly” with its partners to prevent, and protect against the spread of the highly infectious disease.
Poliomyelitis affects young children and children under five (5).
It spread from person to person mainly through oro-faecal route, multiplies in the intestine, from where it subsequently invades the nervous system and can cause paralysis most often in the limbs.
Symptoms include fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, neck stiffness and pains in the limbs.
It also has the potential to cause paralysis of the limbs which can be permanent. People who live in poor sanitation are at high risk of contracting polio.
“Safe and efficacious vaccine is available and complete vaccination is the main form of prevention. Parents and caregivers are advised to ensure that, their children receive the full complement of vaccination,” the Ghana Service noted.
Last month, the Ghana Health Service issued a similar alert that it had discovered a rare type of polio, poliovirus type-2, within the Tamale Metropolis in the Northern Region.
The health authorities observed the virus in a sewage drain in Tamale.
GHS explained in the alert that the virus which had been eradicated from humans, but has recently resurfaced and observed only in the Tamale area.
Below is the full statement from the Ghana Health Service: