NIH issues warning about the Congo virus just before Eid-ul-Adha

MN Report 07:38 PM, 21 Jun, 2022
NIH issues warning about the Congo virus just before Eid-ul-Adha

KARACHI: The National Institute of Health (NIH) warned about Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) on Tuesday because of the expected increase in human-animal contact during Eid-ul-Azha, which makes it more likely that people will get sick and spread it.

NIH Issues Congo Virus Warning All Over Pakistan

The health organisation stressed that people need to stay alert and do what they must to stop the Congo virus from spreading.

Since the first case of CCHF in a person was found in 1976, the NIH says there have been a few more in different parts of the country. Even though Balochistan is still the most affected province, each year, cases are reported from all over the country. Balochistan reported 19 possible cases in 2021. Of these, 14 were confirmed, and five people died.

In 2022, there have been four confirmed cases of Congo Virus. Two of them came from Punjab and the other two from Sindh.

How does Congo Virus transmit?

People get the CCHF/Congo virus from tick bites or touching infected animal blood or tissues during or after slaughter.

People can get the disease from ticks or animal blood that is infected. 

CCHF can be passed from an infected person to a healthy person through contact with their blood, saliva, or other body fluids.

Hospital-acquired CCHF infections can also happen when medical equipment isn't cleaned well enough, when infection control protocols aren't followed when injection needles are used more than once, or when infected medical supplies are used.

Symptoms of Congo Virus

Infected people with the Congo virus have the same signs and symptoms as those with Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF).

The National Institutes of Health said, "Because it spreads from person to person and has a high death rate, it is important to rule out CCHF by taking a careful epidemiological history and clinical exam of the patient and following all of the hospital infection control measures."

Anyone who had contact with animals in an area where the disease is common and had a fever that started quickly, lasted more than three days but less than ten days, and showed signs of bleeding.

A suspected case with a 10-day history of fever, the signs and symptoms listed above, and an epidemiological link to places where CCHF is common. The suspect or likely case where CCHF has been confirmed by a lab (PCR & serology).

Preventive actions against Congo Virus

The NIH says that no widely available vaccine is both safe and effective at this time.

It was said that if there isn't a vaccine, the only way to keep people from getting sick is to get rid of the risk factors and teach people how to stay healthy.

  • Lessening the chance that ticks will pass diseases to people in high-risk areas:
  • Wear clothes that will keep you safe, like long sleeves and long pants;
  • Wear clothes that are light in colour so that ticks are easy to spot;
  • Check your clothes and skin for ticks often, and if you find any, get rid of them safely.
  • Use a good insect repellent on your skin. 
  • The most effective way to keep ticks away from people is to use insect repellents.
  • Avoid going to places and times of the year where ticks are most common and active.

Trying to stop infections from spreading from animals to people:

Wear gloves and other protective clothing when working with animals or their parts in areas where the disease is common, especially when killing, butchering, or culling animals at home or in slaughterhouses.

Before being slaughtered, animals should be put in quarantine (maybe for 30 days) or treated with acaricides often. Animals with ticks should be injected with ivermectin for 24 to 30 days before being slaughtered.

Reducing the danger of human-to-human infection transfer in the community:

Avoid close physical contact with those afflicted with CCHF; Use gloves and other equipment when caring for unwell individuals; wash hands often with soap after watching for or visiting ill individuals.

Observe proper burial procedures by avoiding contact with the dead patient's mucous membranes and bodily fluids and wearing the necessary PPE when handling the body.

The incubation period of Congo Virus

The NIH says that the disease can take anywhere from 1 to 9 days to show up after a tick bite. 

It noted that the incubation time after contact with contaminated blood or tissues is usually 5 to 6 days, with a maximum known time of 13 days.



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