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Ghana declares “health emergency” after polio outbreak

Ghana has declared “Public Health Emergency of National Concern” after news of latest polio outbreak in northern Ghana.

The latest case which is the first in over a decade was recorded in a town called Chereponi in the Northern region.

The Ghana Health Service said in a statement, a sample of the highly infectious disease was taken from a girl aged two years and eight months.

Health officials have now been deployed from the capital Accra to assist in dealing with the situation.

Ghana has also announced its intention to start a vaccination exercise in and around surrounding Chereponi community.

Earlier detection was a signal

In July health officials in Ghana announced the detection of a rare type of polio called the poliovirus type-2.

The detection was made again in Ghana’s Northern region in the regional capital Tamale.

Ghana’s health service officials, the virus was observed in a sewage drain in Tamale.

At the time the resurfacing of the rare type of the virus was a sign of potentially rolling back the gains made by Ghana in eradicating the disease.

Ghana Health Service officials at the tome suspected the virus might have been brought into the country by a migrant.

Africa and Polio

Some countries within West Africa including Nigeria recently also recorded fresh cases of Polio.

But in May this year there was an announcement of every country worldwide, including all 73 Gavi-supported countries now introducing a polio vaccine which protects children against the disease.

The inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) was introduced into Zimbabwe and Mongolia’s routine immunisation programmes with Gavi’s support.

Polio is an infectious disease that affects mainly children. It causes paralysis of the limbs. Polio is preventable by administering the polio vaccine over a period of time.

The disease is spread from person to person through ingesting fecal matter or food and water containing the fecal matter.

In up to 70% of polio infections, there are no symptoms but gradual development of muscle weakness leading to paralysis.


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