The Sindh Health Department has held the livestock department and the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) responsible for the emergence of Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever in Karachi.
Health officials have also directed the livestock department and the KMC to take immediate action against illegal cattle markets established in every nook and cranny of the metropolis. The health department has directed all the major private hospitals of the city to furnish daily reports on 18 notifiable diseases, including the status of Congo fever patients.
The department has also told tertiary-care hospitals to be prepared for dealing with patients with the potentially lethal Congo viral infection by setting up isolation wards with trained staff and the required medicines to treat the disease.
Health officials have decided to launch an awareness campaign for butchers and other people who deal with cattle and other livestock so that they could identify the infected animals and take precautionary measures against the lethal viral disease.
The officials have asked hospitals to take measures for keeping such patients in isolation so that the viral infection could not spread to other patients, doctors and the rest of the hospital staff.
So far this year nine people, including six from Karachi, have died due to Congo fever. At least six others have been tested positive for the viral infection and are undergoing treatment at different public and private hospitals in the city.
An emergency meeting chaired by Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho discussed the cases of Congo fever that have been surfacing to find ways and means to contain the outbreak of the lethal disease.
The meeting has sought active participation of the livestock department and the KMC so that the transmission of the viral infection from animals to humans could be prevented. They also decided that starting next year, a task force comprising officials of the health and livestock departments and the KMC would be established six weeks prior to Eidul Azha so that sacrificial animals entering the city could be sprayed with insecticides.
The meeting called on all public and private hospitals to daily share data of 18 notifiable diseases with the health department so that the authorities could know the severity of the situation. They said private hospitals would be sent letters for updating the health officials on a daily basis.
Among others, the meeting was attended by Sindh Health Secretary Dr Usman Chachar, Dr Ruth KM Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi Medical Superintendent Dr Muhammad Taufiq, focal person for Congo fever cases Dr Zafar Mehdi, Sindh Health Director General Dr Mubeen Memon, the Karachi health director, officials from the livestock department and the World Health Organisation, and experts from the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre and other hospitals.