Congo fever: What are the causes, symptoms and everything about Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever
New Delhi, Sep 13: Nearly a decade, two people who were admitted in AIIMS-Jodhpur, died of Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) fever, Rajasthan Health Minister Raghu Sharma said on Thursday. The first deaths from the viral disease were reported in Rajasthan. A woman, identified as Indra (40), was a resident of Borunda village of Jodhpur district and a boy, identified as Lokesh (18), was from Dav village in Jaisalmer. While Indra passed away on Saturday (September 8), Lokesh passed away on Tuesday night. Both were admitted in AIIMS Jodhpur.
What is Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever?
Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever is a viral haemorrhagic fever transmitted by ticks or contact with livestock carrying the disease. It can be responsible for severe outbreaks in humans.
The disease was first described in the Crimea, Europe in 1944 and given the name Crimean haemorrhagic fever.
In 1969 it was recognized that the pathogen causing Crimean haemorrhagic fever was the same as that responsible for an illness identified in 1956 in the Congo, and linkage of the two-place names resulted in the current name for the disease and the virus.
Causes of Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever:
Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) spreads to humans either by tick-bites or through contact with viraemic animal tissues. CCHF is endemic in all of Africa, the Balkans, the Middle East and in Asia.
Symptoms of Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever:
The illness in humans is a severe form of hemorrhagic fever. The length of the incubation period depends on the mode of acquisition of the virus. Following infection by a tick bite, the incubation period is usually one to three days, with a maximum of nine days. The incubation period following contact with infected blood or tissues is usually five to six days, with a maximum of 13 days.
- Myalgia, (muscle ache),
- Neck pain and stiffness,
- Sore eyes,
- Photophobia (sensitivity to light)
- Abdominal pain
- Sore throat
- Mood swings
- Stomach ache in the upper right side
- Liver enlargement
- Fast heart rate
- Bleeding under the skin
- Liver failure
After two to four days, the agitation may be replaced by sleepiness, depression and lassitude, and the abdominal pain may localize to the upper right quadrant, with detectable hepatomegaly (liver enlargement).
Other signs include fast heart rate, lymphadenopathy (enlarged lymph nodes), and a petechial rash (a rash caused by bleeding into the skin) on internal mucosal surfaces, such as in the mouth and throat, and on the skin.
Prevention and control measures for Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever
Prevention and control of CCHF infection are achieved by avoiding or minimising exposure to infected ticks by using tick repellents. Wearing protective clothing and early and correct removal of ticks are recommended.
There is no treatment or vaccine for Congo fever and the only way to treat is to manage the symptoms of the disease. However, the antiviral drug ribavirin has been used to treat CCHF infection with apparent benefit. Both oral and intravenous formulations seem to be effective.