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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
09ACCRA820 2009-08-20 15:45:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Accra
Cable title:  

GHANA RECORDS FIRST H1N1 CASES

Tags:   KFLU TBIO EAID GH 
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1. SUMMARY: Ghana has recorded six confirmed cases of H1N1 influenza
through August 20, 2009. Two individuals were treated in hospital
with Tamiflu and have fully recovered, and four persons are
currently being treated at home with Tamiflu and have not yet
recovered. To date, Ghana has not recorded any H1N1 fatalities.
USG agencies at post, including the U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit
(NAMRU), USAID and CDC have been collaborating with GOG health
officials as they respond to the pandemic. END SUMMARY.



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FIRST TWO H1N1 PATIENTS RECOVER


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2. On August 6, Ghana confirmed its first two cases of H1N1 through
lab testing at the University of Ghana's Noguchi Memorial Institute
for Medical Research, which serves as Ghana's central reference
laboratory for influenza and other diseases. The first two cases
involved a brother who had recently returned from the United Kingdom
and his sister. Both were hospitalized and treated with Tamiflu at
an Accra hospital, and were subsequently released from the hospital
after making a full recovery. The Ghana Health Service (GHS), the
division of the Ministry of Health (MOH) that manages Ghana's public
health and hospital system, traced contacts of the individuals, but
did not detect any further H1N1 cases through lab testing.



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FOUR NEW H1N1 CASES IN TREATMENT


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3. On August 18, two new cases of H1N1 were confirmed through lab
testing at Noguchi. An expatriate father and his child living in
the Accra Airport Residential Area recently returned from overseas
travel and appeared at a health clinic in Accra on August 18 with
fever and cough. Samples were tested at Noguchi that same day and
confirmed the presence of the H1N1 flu virus. On August 19, the
expatriate mother and a second child in the family also tested
positive for H1N1.



4. All four individuals are currently being treated at home with
Tamiflu. The GHS is currently identifying and tracing others with
whom the family may have come in contact. Contacts at the GHS would
not reveal to us the nationalities of the expatriates, but confirmed
to us that they were not American or Ghanaian.



5. The four newly recorded H1N1 cases are not related to or linked
to the first two cases. To date, there have been no confirmed
fatalities from H1N1 in Ghana. Through August 20, the Noguchi Lab
has tested over 70 samples for the presence of H1N1, and only six
samples have tested positive for H1N1.



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PANDEMIC PREPAREDNESS


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6. Embassy USAID and EST officers attended H1N1 technical
coordination meetings at the MOH on August 12 and August 19, where
MOH officials shared with us their actions in response to the first
H1N1 cases. The GHS and MOH have distributed 50,000 units of
Tamiflu to regional hospitals and health clinics, and sent
guidelines to both public and private health facilities about the
procedures that should be followed in cases of suspected H1N1
influenza. The GHS and MOH are currently preparing public service
announcements (i.e., radio spots, posters, and specific
announcements at the Accra International Airport) and guidelines for
schools about dealing with H1N1.



7. At the technical coordination meeting on August 19, GHS Director
General Dr. E.K. Sory said that the GOG may call on its
international partners for additional assistance as the GOG
continues to respond to the pandemic. For instance, GOG health
officials noted that they may need assistance going forward in
preparing messages to schools, in procuring personal protection
equipment (PPE) for health care workers after existing stocks run
out, and in procuring additional reagents, primers and chemicals
from abroad for continued lab testing at Noguchi. However, GOG
officials have not yet made any specific requests, other than
continued coordination and communication with international partners
such as the WHO, UNICEF and the Red Cross, and USG agencies,
including NAMRU, CDC and USAID.



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COMMENT


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8. USG support and technical assistance helped in the detection of
Ghana's first H1N1 cases. NAMRU has a strong collaborative
relationship with the Noguchi Lab and currently funds one active

ACCRA 00000820 002.3 OF 002


duty physician and 10 lab specialists and staff at Noguchi, and also
provides the reagents, chemicals and training on the real-time PCR
machines at Noguchi. CDC has also been providing Noguchi with H1N1
primers to test human biological samples for the presence of H1N1.
In addition, USAID has been working with the GOG, International
Federation of the Red Cross and the Ghana Red Cross Society in
preparing a comprehensive pandemic preparedness and humanitarian
response plan for Ghana through USAID's H2P Initiative. We will
continue to work closely with the GHS, MOH, Noguchi and other
partners as the GOG responds to the growing threat of H1N1.



9. The Embassy's working group on avian and pandemic influenza will
meet on August 25 to consider what other steps the mission, embassy
community and American citizens may need to take in pandemic
preparedness.

TEITELBAUM