Fishermen direct colleagues to undergo Ebola screening

There was an Ebola scare at the Albert Bosumtwi-Sam Fishing Harbour at Sekondi in the Western Region, on Tuesday, when some fishermen who arrived from Guinea were detained for screening by health and Immigration officials.

Health workers from the Takoradi port, Ghana Immigration Service and Ghana Health Service screened the 24 fishermen, who arrived in a boat with laser gun thermometres for possible Ebola infection amidst tight security by the Police and Bureau of National Investigations.

The Ghana News Agency gathered that the fishermen had undertaken fishing expeditions in Guinea, one of the Ebola endemic countries in West Africa, and were returning to their base in Ningo Prampram in the Greater Accra Region.

However, they were intercepted by some fisher folks on the sea and brought to the fishing harbour for screening.

The Western Regional Director of the Ghana health Services, Dr. Emmanuel Tinkorang, in an interview with the GNA, expressed delight over the alertness of Ghanaians about the Ebola virus disease.

He entreated all and sundry to be vigilant and continue the surveillance at all the country’s entry points to prevent the deadly virus from being introduced to the country.

“At the moment infection prevention is key, therefore, we should work towards avoiding being infected by Ebola,” he stressed.

He, however, expressed worry over foreigners sneaking to galamsey sites to partake in mining without any proper screening and advised all galamsyers to alert the health officials so that those people would be screened for their own safety.

Dr. Tinkorang said the government had allocated GH¢900, 000 to the Region to combat Ebola in the event that the disease became prevalent there.

He said the monies would be used for training health workers and procuring protective gear for them.

However, he said, three health facilities had been designated for managing the Ebola disease in case it was reported in any part of the country.

These are the Tema General Hospital, Komfo Anokyi Teaching Hospital and Tamale Teaching Hospital.

He said each public health facility in the country had been tasked to allocate a holding room to isolate suspected Ebola patients until the necessary tests had been conducted to ascertain the nature of the disease.

Ebola hemorrhagic fever (Ebola HF) is one of numerous Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers. It is a severe, often fatal disease in humans and nonhuman primates (such as monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees).

Fever, body aches, and sore throat as that of malaria and typhoid, are seen at the initial stages of Ebola infection.

As the infection progresses, patients experience severe internal bleeding with blood leaking out of their mouth, eyes, ears and the vessels.

From the time of infection, the incubation period is two to 21 days.

According to the world health body, as of 3st August, 3685 (probable, confirmed and suspected) cases and 1841 deaths had been reported in the current outbreak of Ebola virus disease by the Ministries of Health of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

In Nigeria, there have been 21 cases and seven deaths. In Senegal, one case had been confirmed and there had been no Ebola deaths or further suspected cases.

The WHO said the current survival rate in this outbreak is 47 per cent.

Ebola cannot spread through the air like flu. It is fragile in nature so can be checked with soap solution, detergents and disinfectants.

Getting an infection requires direct contact with bodily fluids such as blood, urine, saliva, sweat, and semen.

The first Ebolavirus species was discovered in 1976 in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo, near the Ebola River. Since then, outbreaks have appeared sporadically. GNA

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