KUMACA Swine Flu Over

A student being vaccinated at 

The outbreak of Influenza-A H1N1, otherwise known as swine flu, which claimed the lives of several students of the Kumasi Academy (KUMACA) in Ashanti Region, has been declared over by the Ghana Health Service (GHS) and the Ministry of Health (MoH).

Explaining the grounds for which the declaration was made, the health agencies in a joint press release to announce the new development on the viral disease said, “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.”

According to the release, simultaneously, sporadic cases of meningitis were recorded in three secondary schools; one school in each from the Eastern, Northern and Upper East Regions.

It said lessons learnt from the period of the outbreak had 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,” it explained.

It, however, advised the public to observe general preventive measures which include cough and sneezing etiquette, personal hygiene, handwashing with soap and water and use of hand sanitisers.

“Individuals that experience symptoms of influenza-like illness are requested to report immediately to the nearest health facility for the necessary investigations and treatment,” the release added.

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

The H1N1 outbreak in Kumasi Academy was a localised 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,” the release stated.

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

Free vaccination was administered on the students and the staff as well.

About 3,000 people, including students, teachers and non-teaching staff, who visit the school daily were targeted.

Scores of KUMACA students have died mysteriously this year, and their sudden deaths have been attributed to the H1N1 disease.

Interestingly, even journalists who visited the school to report about happenings in KUMACA also received the vaccine.

By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri