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Be On The Look-out For Flu-like Signs/Symptoms

The leadership of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana (PSGH) has expressed concern on the recent outbreak of H1N1 Influenza at the Kumasi Academy Senior High School (KUMACA) that has claimed the lives of some students.

The leadership of the PSGH also expressed concern about the reports of bacterial meningitis at the Koforidua Secondary Technical School.

The Society has also noted the swift response by the Ministry of Health and other stakeholders to contain the spread of the infections through appropriate preventive and treatment initiatives.

A statement signed by Mr Benjamin Botwe, the President of the PSGH has therefore, urged pharmacists in Community Practice to be on the look-out for flu-like signs and symptoms that would help in early detection by prompt referral of any suspected H1N1 infection.

The statement said the H1N1 Influenza, which is also known as swine flu, is a highly contagious respiratory disease in pigs caused by one of several swine influenza A viruses.

It said the H1N1 virus could be transmitted to humans via contact with infected pigs or environments contaminated with the virus.

Similar to common seasonal flu strains, the swine influenza A (H1N1) virus spread from person-to-person by airborne droplets expelled from the respiratory tract during talking, coughing or sneezing.

It said: ‘Fever, cough, sore throat, headache, chills and fatigue, diarrhoea and vomiting are the symptoms of the acute respiratory illness.

In children, signs include apnoea, tachypnoea, dyspnoea, cyanosis, dehydration, altered mental status, and extreme irritability.

The leadership of the PSGH has also urged members to look out for Cerebrospinal Meningitis (CSM) as the harmattan season approached, and promptly refer suspected cases for treatment.

The CSM has fever, headache and neck stiffness as symptoms and transmitted from person-to-person through droplets of respiratory or throat secretions from carriers.

It is spread through close contact such as kissing, living in close quarters such as a dormitory, sneezing or coughing, and sharing of eating or drinking utensils with affected individuals.

The statement encouraged pharmacists to support the national effort by observing and documenting the evidence of suspected cases to the disease control offices in their catchment areas in order to prevent the diseases by vaccination.

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