RAWALPINDI, Aug 11: The Holy Family Hospital (HFH) received two female patients with symptoms of the Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever (commonly known as Congo fever) on Thursday evening.
Yasmeen, aged 35, belongs to Kalar Kahar and arrived at the hospital on August 8 with nasal and throat bleeding. She was shifted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), and doctors suspect she is a patient of the Congo fever.
Similarly, Tahira, aged 24, belongs to Azad Kashmir and arrived at the HFH with the same symptoms. She too was shifted to the ICU.
Doctors said their blood samples had been dispatched to the National Institute of Health (NIH) to test for CCHF (Congo fever). The hospital would receive the test reports within three days, and the patients are already being treated in an isolation room.
Congo fever is a tick-borne viral disease found among domestic and wild animals. It can also be transmitted to humans through direct contact with blood or other infected tissue of livestock, or from tick bites.
“Most patients are people who handle animals such as buffaloes, goats and sheep. These animals need to be vaccinated, which is the duty of the district livestock department,” said Punjab Director Health Dr Zafar Iqbal Gondal while talking to Dawn.
For preventive measures, Dr Gondal said people should avoid direct contact with animals having ticks and thick rubber gloves should be used while washing these animals.
On August 7, another patient from Kalar Kahar (Nazia Bibi, 24) had been diagnosed with CCHF and is still being treated in the isolation room of the same hospital. Her condition is stated stable.
Last year in Rawalpindi, two patients had died of the disease. Mohammad Imtiaz, aged 45, belonged to Chakwal and arrived on September 27, 2012 at the HFH. Similarly, Mohammad Razzaq, 60, was brought to the hospital on August 27, 2012 from Chua Syedan Shah, and died of the disease on August 29.
When contacted, HFH Incharge Infectious diseases, Dr Javed Hayat said, “Both patients have been shifted to the isolation room and doctors have been advised to take precautionary measures against the infectious disease,” he said.
He said the samples would be tested for Congo fever, dengue and H1N1 (swine flu). “It is suspected that two patients are suffering from the Congo fever, but as a precautionary measure, we would also conduct a test for dengue and H1N1,” he said.