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Another patient dies of Congo fever in Nishtar

April 11, 2013

LAHORE, April 10: Another man has died of fatal tropical disease -- Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) -- at the Nishtar Hospital in Multan.

Muhammad Yasin (28), a resident of House No 150, Block E, Dera Ghazi Khan, was shifted to the Nishtar Hospital a few days back with massive bleeding from his nose, mouth and ears. He was kept in an isolated intensive care ward, but he died on Tuesday.

An official privy to the information told Dawn that it was the fourth CCHF-related death in South Punjab during the past six months.

He said six out of 16 suspected people were diagnosed as CCHF patients after the laboratory and clinical investigations during the period.

Of the four who lost their lives, three belonged to Dera Ghazi Khan and one to Bhakar district, he said and added they had been dealing in cattle trade.

Surveillance officers of the World Health Organization at DG Khan and Multan have been alerted for case-investigation after reporting of a fresh death.

Health officials in areas concerned have also been directed to thoroughly investigate the matter and take preventive measures to stop the spread of the disease to other districts of the province.

Initially, the patients are diagnosed through common symptoms of the disease, including headache and joint pain, and in the later stage, they are confirmed as CCHF patients through particular symptoms, including red eyes, flushed face, red throat, and red spots on the mouth, besides laboratory reports.

The official said that Yasin was hospitalized with a five-day history of constant and rising fever, four-day of vomiting and with two-day history of bleeding from various parts of the body.

Quoting some reports, he says the CCHF is a widespread tick-borne viral disease that can be transmitted either from wild animals or infected patients through direct contact with their blood or body fluids.

The disease is particularly common in East and West Africa and fatal in about 50 per cent of human cases which is an alarming ratio, he said.

The official said the patient needed immediate attention or constant follow up during the specified period -- three to seven days -- of the onset of the disease. Any delay in this regard can lead to a severe hemorrhagic syndrome or uncontrolled bleeding -- called as extremely advanced stage of the deadly disease.

Shortly after receiving fresh victim of the tropical disease at Nishtar Hospital in Multan, health authorities issued directions to officials concerned to keep under observation family members of the diseased person and those who remained close to him during the entire period of the onset of the CCHF.

According to the laid down protocol, he said the health management should send blood samples of doctors and other staff, who provided treatment to the CCHF patient, as a preventive measure.

A separate team of health experts will also visit the ‘affected areas’ to gather epidemiological information and facts.