The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has issued an alert concerning a possible discovery of mosquito-borne Zika virus in Nigeria.
The GHS said it had “received rumours of Zika virus circulating in Nigeria”, adding that the public would be informed of any further developments.
This was contained in a statement copied to ClassFMonline.com, which was signed by Dr Kofi Asemanyi-Mensah, Deputy Director (Public Health) for the Western Regional Health Directorate of the GHS.
According to Mr Asemanyi-Mensah, the service has also received an alert from the World Health Organisation (WHO) concerning an outbreak of Dengue Fever in Burkina Faso.
In view of that, the GHS has informed authorities at health facilities in the country to “enhance surveillance and update prospective preparedness and response for plans for dengue (and other arboviruses: dengue, Chikungunya, Zika, and Yellow Fever)”.
Furthermore, “blood samples of suspected cases should be sent in triple package protection with appropriate and adequately filled case based form and sent to Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) for laboratory tests”.
The infection has been linked to severe birth defects in almost 30 countries.
The birth defects include microcephaly, a condition characterised by babies being born with abnormally small heads and restricted brain development.
According to WHO, more than 2,100 cases of nervous system malformations have been reported in Brazil alone.
Zika virus is also reported to be transmitted through sex.
In most cases, there are no symptoms. In a few cases, Zika can trigger paralysis (Guillain-Barré Syndrome).
The most common symptoms of Zika Virus Disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes.
There is no vaccine or specific treatment for the disease. Treatment instead focuses on relieving symptoms and includes rest, rehydration, and medications for fever and pain.