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February 11, 2019

Year’s first Congo virus case reported at JPMC


February 11, 2019

The city’s first case in 2019 of Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF), commonly known as Congo virus, was reported on Sunday as a woman tested positive for the disease at Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC).

The patient was identified as 35-year-old Tazeem Faizan, resident of Orangi Town. She is currently under treatment at an isolated ward of the JPMC.

“Tazeem Faizan was brought to the JPMC with high grade fever and very low platelets count. Laboratory reports confirmed she is infected with Crimean-Congo virus,” JPMC Executive Director Dr Seemin Jamali told The News.

She is the first CCHF patient brought to any hospital in Karachi in the ongoing year, health officials said. They added that CCHF cases are mostly reported during Eid-ul-Azha days as people come in contact with cattle and sacrificial animals, which carry the tick that spreads the deadly disease to human beings.

CCHF is a tick-borne viral disease, which is caused when a person comes in 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 to 50 per cent mortality rate.

“Many people have contracted this disease in Karachi during their interaction with cattle. People should take precautionary measures while dealing with the cattle and livestock,” Dr Jamali said, adding that red spots on body, high fever, and blood coming from mouth and nose were the symptoms of Congo virus, and any patient exhibiting such symptoms should immediately be rushed to a major hospital.

Health officials at the JPMC said Tazeem was vomiting blood and her platelets count was very low. They explained that the patient had been shifted to an isolated ward as a precautionary measure to prevent other patients and medical staff from contracting the viral infection.

The patient was first taken to a private hospital but as her attendants could not afford her treatment there, she was referred to the JPMC where she was admitted, Dr Jamali said.

According to Sindh health officials, around 16 people died at various hospitals in Karachi last year due to CCHF, the majority of whom were residents of different areas of Balochistan, including Quetta, as people from the province are now regularly brought to Karachi for treatment.

Dr Kamran Rizvi, district officer (preventive) of Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, said a total of 41 Congo virus patients were brought to different hospitals in Karachi last year, of whom 16, mostly males, could not survive while the others were successfully cured.

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