With dengue… now comes Congo fever
ISLAMABAD, Oct 25: If you thought dengue was the final blow that nature could inflict on Pakistanis for this year, you were wrong. In a cruel twist of fate, the country is now expected to be plagued by a wave of the high-fatality tick-bite disease, the Crimean Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF).
The National Institute of Health`s (NIH) warning on the latest infectious disease comes a week after its first victim succumbed to it at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims). Dawn
“An adult patient Hamza from Haripur district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has died due to CCHF. The patient came with massive bleeding and was admitted at the isolation ward. We immediately sent his samples to NIH but he died during the course of his treatment due to massive bleeding,” Prof Mehmood Jamal, executive-director of Pims, told .
Though the report from NIH came eight days later, but Prof Jamal clarifies that the death of the patient from Congo fever was no secret and no attempts were made to hide anything from public. He does admit that doctors feel the pressure of expectations of dealing with Congo fever patients alongside dengue cases.
Meanwhile, the NIH in a quick move has issued an advisory saying: “Provinces have been advised to take special measures in view of the upcoming Eidul Azha as there will be massive movement of sacrificial animals from one province to the other.”
A senior official of the NIH added that since a cattle market had already been established in Saidpur village, their department had also issued a similar warning to local health authorities.
NIH has also asked the provincial health authorities to establish isolation wards. “Even physicians and medical staff treating them have to avoid direct contact with the CCHF positive patient because even the blood secretion from the patient is deadly,” said one official.
For preventive measures the NIH official suggested that butchers and cattle handlers needed to be trained for de-ticking the animals before moving the cattle from one place to other. “Preventive measures such as body inspection of cattle are needed by the relevant veterinary health officials working with the local district administrations before the transporting the cattle from a farmhouse to slaughter house or cattle market,” suggested the official.
But with most cattle herders paying little heed to inspectors or rules and migration of cattle between provinces unhindered, how this impending epidemic is prevented will be worth to keep an eye on this Eid.