Dr Samuel Armoo, a Senior Infectious Disease Research Scientist of the Biomedical and Public Health Research Unit of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has urged the public to eat well cooked pork to avoid infection of the H3N2, which shares same flu-like symptoms as COVID-19.
Dr Armoo told the Ghana News Agency in an interview that generally, viruses were prone to differences in nucleic materials that was why Hanz virus could cross from pigs to infect humans.
He said, “with the detection of Hanz/H3N2 virus in humans, there is the need for continuous surveillance to ensure that potentially more deadly variants of the virus are isolated before they spread in the population”.
Dr Armoo indicated that the Hanz virus was transmitted through droplet infections through the eyes, nose and the mouth just like COVID-19 because they were all respiratory viruses.
He said, though H3N2v was a pig virus, eating well-cooked pork could not cause a person to be infected but being in contact with infected life pigs could, saying, “the pig farmers are the most at risk”.
Pregnant women, children under five years, persons living with chronic medical conditions and immunosuppressive conditions like HIV and elderly people over 65 years, he listed, were other group of most at-risk persons to be infected with the virus.
Dr Armoo said an infected person may experience fever and chills, body ache, headache, cough, loss of appetite, running nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and dizziness which are similar symptoms of COVID-19 and other influenzas.
He stated, “since there is an extensive network of COVID-19 laboratories, citizens with such symptoms should visit any of the testing laboratories to screen for COVID-19 as the first precautionary measure. Once COVID-19 is ruled out, other influenza viruses like Hanz virus can be investigated”.
He admonished infected persons to avoid eating greasy and surgery foods, caffeinated and alcoholic drinks and reduce the consumption of milk products in order to recover quickly from the virus.
“Stay home and observe yourself if you are infected but not admitted to the hospital. Eat fruits, drink a lot of water, drink natural fruit juice, hot tea, lime juice and ‘sobolo’. These will help your system to naturally fight against the virus”, he stated.
Dr Armoo stressed the need for citizens to practise social distancing, wear nose masks, especially in an enclosed space, apply alcohol-based hand sanitiser and wash hands with soap under running water even as the country had not recorded any mortalities of Hanz virus.
Currently, Ghana is fighting against three viruses, COVID-19, Hanz virus and Monkey pox which are all communicable diseases and can be avoided by adhering to all COVID-19 protocols.