Suspected Congo virus patient dies in hospital

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Staff Report
Rawalpindi
Another Congo virus suspect has died at Rawalpindi Holy family hospital on Wednesday.
The sources said that Amir Shahzad was brought to the hospital from Syed Kasran village of District Chakwal and admitted with symptoms of Congo fever.
Sources said that few days earlier the father of Amir Shahzad, Shar Dil had also died owing to the Congo virus in the same hospital.
The deceased were known for running the cattle business in their native village. According to the sources, Amir Shahzad has been brought to the Holy Family with symptoms of the Congo virus few days earlier. The doctors took his blood samples and forwarded them to the National Institute of Health (NIH).
On the other hand the hospital administration had rejected the impression that Congo virus has caused any deaths.
The relevant doctor at Holy Family, Haroon Raheem has strongly ruled out the impression that Amir Shahzad died due to Congo virus. He said that Amir Shahzad had died instead due to a condition of liver failure.
District Health office (DHO) Rawalpindi Dr. Tahir told said that there have not been any reports of a patient dying due to Congo virus in the hospital.
However, a high alert for the Congo virus has been declared in all three main hospitals of Rawalpindi as Eidul Azha is just around the corner.
The Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) virus causes severe viral haemorrhagic fever outbreaks in petients, with a fatality rate of 10–40%, according to World Health Organisation.
The CCHF virus can be transmitted to people either by tick bites or through contact with infected animal blood or tissues during and immediately after slaughter.
Majority of cases have occurred in people involved in the livestock industry, such as agricultural workers, slaughterhouse workers and veterinarians.
The city administration is required to direct the officials of livestock department to set up camps at all the entry points to spray the animals against the tick.
Congo fever is caused by a tick-borne virus with a high fatality rate. It is a zoonotic disease which is transmitted from animals to humans.
Earlier this week, the Rawalpindi Livestock Department has directed the cattle markets to carry out the fumigation against the Congo virus before Eidul Azha to avoid diseases.
Numerous wild and domestic animals such as cattle, buffaloes, goats and sheep are carriers of the virus and adult ticks feed on these animals.
Precautionary measures
A large number of animals are brought into the twin cities ahead of Eidul Azha and residents will be visiting cattle markets to purchase animals, which increases their chances of catching the infection.
There is currently no vaccine available for humans and the only way to reduce infection was by raising awareness.
“Wear light clothing during visit to the animal markets to allow easy detection of ticks on the clothes and regularly examine clothing and skin for the ticks. If found, remove them safely and use approved repellents on clothing and skin. Don’t crush the ticks, wear gloves and other protective clothing while handling animals or their tissues, notably during slaughtering and culling procedures in slaughterhouses or at home,” the health advisory suggests.
Furthermore, it has been suggested that those caring for patients have been advised to wear gloves and use other protective equipment, wash their hands frequently after visiting with patients and that insect repellents are the most effective way for warding off ticks.

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