First cases of Congo Fever detected in country

New Delhi, Jan 19 (PTI) The fatal Crimean-CongoHaemorrhagic Fever which has claimed three lives in Gujarathas been reported in the country for the first time ever.

Caused by an animal tick-borne virus, Congo fever, hasbeen confirmed in the samples of the three fatal cases atNational Institute of Virology, Pune in blood as well as urinesamples of the patients, health ministry officials said.

The Indian Council of Medical Research, however, hassaid that CCHF outbreaks can easily be controlled by properhygiene and infection control measures in the hospitals wherepatients are admitted.

Similar precautions should be taken in the communityspecially while slaughtering animals from whose tissues theinfection spreads to humans.

"After proper control measure, the outbreaks can besuccessfully handled locally," they said.

The CCHF virus is known to be transmitted amonganimals through ticks. It does not produce disease in animalsbut kills from 20 to 40 per cent of humans who catch thevirus.

Typically, after a one to three day incubation periodfollowing a tick bite, flu-like symptoms appear, which mayresolve after one week.

In upto 75 per cent of cases, however, signs ofhaemorrhage appear within 3-5 days of the onset of illness.

Patients usually begin to recover after 9-10 days from symptomonset, but there could be mortality in some cases.

A team of specialists from the National Institute ofCommunicable Diseases has already been deputed to Gujarat.

The CCHF virus has earlier been reported from Africa,the Balkans, the Middle East and Pakistan. There isserological evidence of CCHF infection being present in Indiain animals which however do not get the disease.

Those dead 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 in Ahmedabad,where Momin was admitted with high fever, abdominal pain andvomitting.

The Gujarat health department has begun surveillancein Kolat and nearby villages in the wake of the deaths. PTISPC

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