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September 11, 2018

Death toll rises to 10 as Congo fever claims another life


September 11, 2018

The dreaded viral disease Congo-Crimean Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) claimed another life in Karachi on Monday when a young resident of Mahmoodabad area died due to complications from the virus at Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center (JPMC).

“Haider Ali Jaffri, 22, who was brought to the JPMC a few days back on the complaints of high-grade fever, headache, bleeding from mouth and nose and other symptoms, died during treatment today at an isolation ward. He had tested positive for Congo Crimean Hemorrhagic Fever,” JPMC Executive Director Dr Seemin Jamali told The News.

Health officials say Congo fever is a lethal viral infection that is transmitted to humans from animals, especially cattle and livestock. Patients are kept in isolation wards to prevent other patients and doctors and paramedics from contracting the viral infection.

It was the fifth death at the JPMC and 10th due to the Congo fever in Karachi this year, health department officials said, adding that of these 10 victims, seven were from different areas of Karachi, and three were from Quetta and the adjoining areas in the Balochistan province.

Dr Jamali said Haider Ali Jaffri was a caretaker of cattle in Mahmoodabad area, and he had contracted the disease from some infected animal and could not survive despite getting timely treatment at the JPMC’s ICU.

“This year, we have received 13 patients so far from different areas of Karachi and Balochistan, of whom five have died, while the remaining eight survived and were discharged after complete recovery,” she said, adding that at the moment, there was no CCHF positive or suspected patient under treatment at the JPMC.

Officials in the Sindh health department said dozens of persons had tested positive for CCHF in Karachi this year so far, of whom 10 had died. The added that owing to lack of cooperation from many private hospitals in the city, the exact figure of patients who tested positive for CCHF was not known.

Officials said they had asked the livestock department to spray animals coming from Balochistan with insecticides, as most of the CCHF-infected animals were coming from different areas of Balochistan. They also asked all the health facilities in Karachi to update their surveillance cells to report any Congo feverl cases on a daily basis.

Provincial health minister Dr Azra Pechuho said they had asked all the major public and private tertiary-care hospitals to provide them with data of 18 notifiable diseases on a daily basis as only two private hospitals, including Aga Khan University Hospital and Liaquat National Hospital, were providing them data of notifiable diseases, while the remaining hospitals were hiding facts from the health department, they added.

The tick-borne fever had claimed the life of a 23-yer-old man in Karachi on August 20 at the JPMC).

“Salman, son of Abdur Rasheed, a 23-year-old resident of New Karachi, who was brought to the JPMC’s emergency with bruises on his body on Saturday, died early on Monday morning during treatment,” Dr Seemin Jamali had told The News.

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