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June 13, 2018

19-year-old becomes Congo fever’s second victim in city this year


June 13, 2018

The dreaded Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) claimed the second life of the year in Karachi on Tuesday, when a teenaged resident of the Korangi Industrial Area died at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) due to complications of the lethal tick-borne disease.

“Nineteen-year-old Moiz was brought to the JPMC on Sunday morning from the Korangi Industrial Area with a high-grade fever, rashes on his body and bleeding from the nose and the mouth. He was admitted to the isolation ward and kept in intensive care, where he died on Tuesday morning,” JPMC Executive Director Dr Seemin Jamali told The News.

Moiz is the second victim of the CCHF in the metropolis. Last month a 36-year-old resident of Lyari, Sadiq Ali, had died at the Liaquat National Hospital due to complications of the viral disease.

As many as four people — a female resident of Mianwali, a young man in Multan and two men of Karachi — have died in the country due to the CCHF this year, said health officials, adding that those dealing with cattle and livestock, including farmers and butchers, are at a greater risk of contracting the fatal disease.

Dr Seemin said the teenager, Moiz, was a worker at a tannery in the Korangi Industrial Area, where labourers come into contact with the hides of cattle and other animals for processing, adding that he might have contracted the disease from a tick present on any hide brought to the tannery for processing.

She said Moiz was the third patient of the CCHF who was brought to the JPMC during the past two to three months, of which two survived and were completely cured. The CCHF is a tick-borne viral disease, which is caused when a person comes into contact with an animal infected with the Congo virus due to the presence of the parasite on its skin.

Mostly butchers, sheep and animal herders and those who are associated with cattle farming become victims of the CCHF, which has a 40 per cent to 50 per cent mortality rate. As many as six people had died at different hospitals in Karachi last year due to the CCHF, but majority of them had been brought from Balochistan’s Quetta city for treatment. One of the patients who perished was a resident of Karachi.

Cases of the CCHF usually surface in Pakistan during Eidul Azha, when tens of thousands of animals are brought to the cities for sacrifice, and mostly butchers who slaughter them get infected because they directly deal with blood and other secretions of the animals.

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