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Zika Virus, Lassa Fever Ministry of Health issues alert

Addressing a press conference, Ghana's Health Minister, Alex Segebfia said the country is putting in place measures to ensure that the two are prevented from getting into the country.

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Zika virus is spread through the bite of an Aedes species of mosquito. play

Zika virus is spread through the bite of an Aedes species of mosquito.

The Ministry of Health has instituted measures for public education and prevention of the Zika virus and Lassa fever, following confirmed case of the virus in neighbouring Togo.

Togo, last month, was reported to have recorded two Lassa fever cases in Oti district, with the public being asked to take preventive measures against the virus.

Unlike the Lassa fever virus which is spread through rats, Zika virus is spread through the bite of an Aedes species of mosquito. Zika can also be transmitted from a pregnant woman to her baby during pregnancy or around the time of birth.

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Some countries in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific, have already recorded cases of the Zika virus disease, which has been declared a global public health emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Addressing a press conference, Ghana's Health Minister, Alex Segebfia said the government of Benin and Togo, as well as development partners have initiated response measures to contain the situation.

He added that Ghana is putting in place measures to ensure that the Zika virus is prevented from getting into the country.

"We request all regions, metropolitan, municipal, and district assemblies to mount public education on the prevention of Zika virus disease. The situation calls for the full support especially in the area of public education and we hope that we will once again give the necessary assistance to raise the required awareness and get people to practise the highest level of prevention and control measures", Mr. Segbefia added.

The Zika virus is a mosquito-transmitted infection related to dengue, yellow fever and West Nile virus.

It was discovered in the Zika forest in Uganda in 1947 and is common in Africa and Asia. However, it did not begin spreading widely until last May, when an outbreak occurred in Brazil.

There is no specific treatment or vaccine currently available. The best form of prevention is protection against mosquito bites.

A rare case of the virus being transmitted through sex, rather than a mosquito bite, has also been reported.

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