Congo fever kills three in Gujarat; health department on alert

Last Updated: Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - 14:19

Ahmedabad: The fatal Crimean-Congo
Haemorrhagic Fever caused by an animal tick-borne virus has
surfaced in Gujarat, claiming the lives of three people
including a doctor and a nurse.

In the wake of the deaths, the state health department
has gone on alert and a survey has been undertaken to find
out the affected people. A team from the National Institute of
Communicable Diseases (NICD) is likely to arrive here by
tomorrow.

"A woman from Kolat village in Sanand taluka was the
first to die in the first week of January, followed by the
doctor who treated her at a private hospital here and the
staff nurse who assisted in treatment, who died yesterday of
CCHF," Additional Director (Health) Dr Paresh Dave told PTI.

Dave, who is in-charge of the team probing the disease,
said the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune has also
confirmed after testing the samples sent to them, that the
deceased were infected with CCHF, commonly known as Congo
fever.

The victims have been identified as Amina Momin (30) of
Kolat village in Sanand taluka of the district; Dr Gagan
Sharma and nurse Asha John of a private hospital here, where
Momin was admitted with high fever, abdominal pain and
vomitting.

Dave said the state health department began surveillance
in Kolat and near by villages in wake of the deaths.

"A team from NIV has already landed in the city and is
accompanying the team of doctors and veterinarians surveying
villages to look for more suspected cases of CCHF," he said. "The virus causing CCHF is not transmitted by air and
it was not an epidemic so there was no need to panic," Dave
said.

Dave said the relatives of the first victim of CCHF
have been kept in isolation and are presently being monitored
by expert doctors. "They have not tested positive of CCHF
virus," he said.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO),
Congo is a viral haemorrhagic fever of zoonosis nature--i.e it
could be transmitted from animals to humans and vice-versa.

The CCHF is primarily found in animals which caused by
tick-based virus. It may infect a wide range of domestic and
wild animals. Animals become infected with CCHF from the bite
of infected ticks.

The WHO website said that humans who become infected
with CCHF acquire the virus from direct contact with blood or
other infected tissues from livestock during this time, or
they may become infected from a tick bite.

The majority of cases have occurred in those involved
with the livestock industry, such as agricultural workers,
slaughterhouse workers and veterinarians, it added.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - 14:19

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