LESS than one week after the initial outbreak of H1N1 influenza was reported at Mfantsipim School in Cape Coast, the number of infections has sharply shot up from 10 to 83.
The number of infections recorded at Ayipey in the Asikuma-Odoben-Brakwa District of the Central Region has also increased from two to 40.
The new cases at Mfantsipim and Ayipey bring to 480 the number of infections reported so far nation-wide.
The Director of Public Health at the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr Joseph Amankwah, told the Daily Graphic in Accra that as of Sunday, April 4, 2010, 480 cases of the influenza had been recorded nation-wide but no deaths had so far been recorded.
At a press briefing at Mfantsipim School yesterday, the Central Regional Deputy Director of Public Health, Dr J.B. Eliezar, said that the situation was being contained and that there was no cause for alarm.
For his part, the Cape Coast Metropolitan Director of Health, Dr Joseph Nuertey, said the health directorate was in control of the situation at Mfantsipim School.
He said 63 students were screened on Saturday, while 193 were screened on Sunday, and gave the assurance that all the 83 students were responding to treatment.
He called for calm, particularly on the part of parents, saying the situation was now under control and cases were not coming in as they were at the initial stages.
He said, however, that the health authorities were not taking anything for granted but would work to ensure that the situation was improved.
Dr Nuertey said the closure of the school would still not be recommended because that could lead to the spread of the disease.
He said an ambulance was on standby at the school to ensure that any critical case was sent to the Central Regional Hospital.
The Headmaster of the school, Mr Koame Mieza Edjah, appealed to parents not to visit the school for the next two weeks to enable the school and the health authorities to manage the situation.
He assured parents that the staff of the school was working to give students the needed attention and support during the period, adding that parents should bear with the authorities on the decision to keep students on the compound, saying it was in the best interest of all.
Meanwhile, the public has been advised not to ignore the recent increase in H1N1 influenza but do well to protect themselves from being infected with the deadly influenza, officials of the GHS have indicated.
The H1N1 influenza, commonly refereed to as swine flu, is a disease that is caused by a virus that affects the respiratory system. It first broke out in April 2009 and has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
A pandemic, according to the world health body, is a disease that spreads over a whole country or the world.
Ghana started recording cases in August 2009 and the highest hit is the country’s educational institutions, with the Lincoln Community School in Accra being the first to have been hit by the flu in the latter part of the year. Since then, the virus has spread to the Okuapeman Senior High School in the Eastern Region, Merton Primary in Accra, Tema Parents School and Achimota Basic School.
At the end of March 2010 reports, indicated that Mfantsipim School in Cape Coast and Ayipeh L/A Primary and Junior High School in the Asikuma-Odoben-Brakwa District of the Central Region had also been affected by the H1N1 influenza.