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February 13, 2019

Congo virus claims year’s first life in Karachi

Karachi

February 13, 2019

The Congo Crimean Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) claimed the first life of the year in Karachi when a 35-year old woman from Orangi Town died due to complications of the lethal, tick-borne viral disease at an isolated ward of the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) early on Tuesday morning, officials said.

“Tazeem Faizan, 35, a resident of Orangi Town area of the city, who was brought to the JPMC with a high-grade fever and a very low platelets count on Sunday, died early on Tuesday morning due to multi-organ failure. She was suffering from Congo Crimean Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF), and despite all efforts, she succumbed to complications of the lethal viral infection,” Dr Seemin Jamali, executive director of the JPMC, told The News.

The woman became the first victim of the lethal virus who was taken to any hospital in Karachi, health officials said, adding that mostly CCHF cases were reported during Eid-ul-Azha days as people came in contact with sacrificial animals, which carry the tick that spreads the deadly Congo virus to humans.

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 fever, which has a 40 per cent to 50 per cent mortality rate.

Claiming that the woman was in a critical condition when her family moved her to the JPMC from the Liaquat National Hospital (LNH) for treatment on Sunday, Dr Jamali said Tazeem Faizan was vomiting blood and her platelets count was very low.

“We had moved her to an isolation ward where she was given mega units and other symptomatic treatment, but she died of the complications of the lethal ailment. All precautionary measures had also been adopted to prevent other patients and the medical staff from contracting the viral infection,” she added.

The family of the deceased said they had taken the patient first to the Liaquat National Hospital, but they could not afford the treatment at the private hospital, so she was brought to the JPMC.

According to Sindh health department officials, around 16 people have died at various Karachi hospitals due to CCHF, and the majority of the patients were residents of different areas of Balochistan, including Quetta.

“There were many people who contracted this disease in Karachi during their interaction with cattle, but they survived due to their strong immunity and medical care they received at hospitals, including JPMC. People should take precautionary measures while dealing with cattle and livestock,” Dr Jamali said and added that in case of red spots on the body, high-grade fever and blood coming from mouth and nose, they should immediately rush to a major city hospital.

The district officer (preventive) of the health department, KMC, Dr Kamran Rizvi, said that last year 16 people, mostly males from different areas of Karachi as well as from Quetta, Balochistan, had succumbed to the fever in Karachi.

“Last year, 41 people with CCHF had been brought to different hospitals in Karachi with CCHF positive. Of them, 16 had died while the remaining recovered,” Dr Rizvi said.

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