Health Alert : GHS detects deadly poliovirus type-2 in Tamale

By Justice Kofi Bimpeh

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has detected potentially deadly poliovirus type-2 in the Northern Region capital, Tamale.

The service has declared a public health emergency following the detection. After the declaration, the GHS has detailed field investigations to identify the possible source of infection and determine the extent of geographic spread.

Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, Director of the GHS, explained in a statement issued on Wednesday, July 10 that the detection of the poliovirus type-2 was made possible through the collaboration between GHS and the Noguchi Memorial Institute of Medical and Research Centre (NMIMR) during routine surveillance.

Ghana in April 2019 marked 10 years of the country’s polio-free status.

A public health emergency, according to the WHO, is "an occurrence or imminent threat of an illness or health condition, caused by bioterrorism, epidemic or pandemic disease, or (a) novel and highly fatal infectious agent or biological toxin, that poses a substantial risk of a significant number of human facilities or incidents or permanent or long-term disability.”

The declaration of a state of public health emergency allows the government to suspend state regulations and change the functions of state agencies.

Although polio has been reduced to its barest minimum in the history of the world, in countries like Pakistan, Nigeria and Afghanistan the disease was still high.