The Ministry of Health has revealed that laboratory test results from the Noguchi Memorial Centre for Medical Research showed that majority of the samples from students of Kumasi Academy (KUMACA) tested Positive for Influenza Type-A H1N1.
The discovery was made known at a press briefing in Accra by Minister for Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu. Addressing questions about the mysterious deaths of students in the school, he indicated that a joint operation by the Ministry together with some hospitals and laboratories took samples of blood, Cerebro-spinal fluids, and throat swabs from some students to be examined.
The Minister mentioned that 26 blood samples which were sent to Noguchi to be tested for Ebola, Marburg and Lassa all came out negative, ruling out fears of the cause of deaths being Ebola as earlier speculated.
He also noted that 55 samples which were sent to Kumasi Center for Collaborative Research (KCCR),with 13 blood samples,15 throat swabs and 10 Cerebro-spinal fluids to be tested for Meningitis, Encephalitis and Viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF), all tested negative as well.
Samples sent to Kumasi PH Laboratory and National Public Health Reference Laboratory to be tested for Neiserria Meningitis, H. Influenza Type-B, E-Coli, Strept Pneumonia, Group-B Streptocococcus and Meningitis Pastorex all came out negative.
A medical examination of students who were on admission showed symptoms of Fever, joint and bodily pains, headache, cough, and abnormal chest signs on auscultation which prompted further lab tests.
“Following a review of the case definition, appropriate samples (throat swabs) were taken and immediately sent to Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research and Kumasi Center for Collaborative Research for Laboratory Investigations. Of the nineteen samples sent to NOGUCHI twelve tested Positive for Influenza Type-A 2009 pandemic strain,” he said.
The outbreak which begun on the 30th of November this year has seen the death of 4 students out of 44 reported cases.
In an interview with Otecnews, Ashanti Regional Director of Health Services, Dr. Emmanuel Tinkorang gave an assurance that, students of the school are now safe, as they have been given dozes of a strong antibiotic that suppresses the symptoms of the disease until fully cured.
“Every child will survive in this school. No child will die. I must assure you. Once you take the treatment, there would be no problem. Everybody will survive,” he guaranteed.
The Minister advised members of the general public especially parents of KUMACA students, to be confident that the situation was being handled adding that based on the latest development, more vaccines will be dispatched to the school to assure students of their safety.
He advised that it was safer for the nation, if students are contained in the school to allow easy control over the outbreak, adding that the way forward was that, “the Ministries of Health and Education and the Ghana Health Service and the Ghana Education Service do recommend that students should remain on campus to enable final conclusions on response actions, strengthen surveillance on the condition and take immediate steps to access vaccines as part of response measures.
The World Health Organisation has it that, the Influenza A (H1N1) virus which is transferred mainly through droplets spread from exposed coughs and sneezes, first occurred in 2009.
People in highly crowded places were prone to contracting the disease.