AS Eidul Azha draws closer there has been an increase in Congo cases across the country. Recently, I read a news piece which claimed that six people have died as a result of Congo fever so far this year.
According to the World Health Organistation, there is no vaccine for the virus — for humans or animals.
WHO explains that the Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) virus causes severe viral haemorrhagic fever outbreaks and has a case fatality rate of up to 40 per cent.
The virus is primarily transmitted to people from ticks and livestock animals. Human-to-human transmission can occur resulting from close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected persons.
CCHF is endemic in Africa, the Balkans, the Middle East, Asia and in countries south of the 50th parallel north.
Doctors suggest that one should wear full sleeved clothes and be covered as much as possible when you go near any cattle. I hope people heading to the mandi will take all necessary precautions
EIDUL AZHA is near and many people are going to the cattle markets to buy goats, cows and camels. Young boys often hang around the mandi to see what new or expensive animal is being brought in. I hear they even hold fashion shows there.
However, despite the entertainment value, I think it is imperative that everyone who goes there should go prepared. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes which cover your body fully. Why? Because of the Congo virus/fever.
So far six cases have been reported across the country and who knows how many more we will have by the end of August.
According to the Aga Khan University Hospital’s website, Congo virus or Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) is a tick borne viral disease that infects wild and domestic animals, including livestock.
Humans can contract this disease by getting bitten by an infected tick living on the host animal or coming into contact with the blood, tissues or fresh meat of the infected animal. Human-to-human transmission is also possible in case of close contact with the organs, blood or other secretions and bodily fluids of the infected person.
Congo virus does not survive high temperatures, and well-cooked meat does not pose any risk of transmission of the virus.
If you get bitten by an infected tick, or come in close contact with an infected person or animal’s body fluids, seek immediate medical attention if you start showing the following symptoms. These symptoms appear within one to three days of the transmission and initially resemble symptoms of flu.
As the disease progresses, you will most likely experience the following indications: high grade fever, stomach pain, diarrhea, muscle aches, headache and nausea.
If you or a loved one is suffering from any of these symptoms, please visit a doctor as soon as possible.
Published in Dawn, August 1st, 2019