Congo fever kills three in Gujarat; health department on alert

Ahmedabad, Jan 19 (PTI) The fatal Crimean-CongoHaemorrhagic Fever caused by an animal tick-borne virus hassurfaced in Gujarat, claiming the lives of three peopleincluding a doctor and a nurse.

In the wake of the deaths, the state health departmenthas gone on alert and a survey has been undertaken to findout the affected people. A team from the National Institute ofCommunicable Diseases (NICD) is likely to arrive here bytomorrow.

"A woman from Kolat village in Sanand taluka was thefirst to die in the first week of January, followed by thedoctor who treated her at a private hospital here and thestaff nurse who assisted in treatment, who died yesterday ofCCHF," 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 alsoconfirmed after testing the samples sent to them, that thedeceased were infected with CCHF, commonly known as Congofever.

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

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

"A team from NIV has already landed in the city and isaccompanying the team of doctors and veterinarians surveyingvillages 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," Davesaid.

Dave said the relatives of the first victim of CCHFhave been kept in isolation and are presently being monitoredby expert doctors. "They have not tested positive of CCHFvirus," he said

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

The CCHF is primarily found in animals which caused bytick-based virus. It may infect a wide range of domestic andwild animals. Animals become infected with CCHF from the biteof infected ticks.

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

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

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