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February 18, 2019

75-year-old man becomes year’s second Congo fever casualty

Karachi

February 18, 2019

An elderly man died due to complications of the Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF), commonly known as Congo virus, at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) on early Sunday morning, becoming the second victim of the deadly tick-borne disease in the city in 2019.

“Muhammad Umar Yaseen, an elderly person of 75 years of age, died due to CCHF complications at JPMC on early Sunday morning,” said JPMC Executive Director Dr Seemin Jamali while taking to The News. She added that the deceased had earlier been taken to a private hospital from where he was shifted to Jinnah hospital.

It is the second death in the city caused by the CCHF within a week as earlier on Tuesday morning, a 35-year old woman from Orangi Town had died of Congo virus at an isolated ward of the JPMC.

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.

Dr Jamali said both the woman from Orangi Town and the latest CCHF victim, who lived in the Landhi area of the city, were brought to the JPMC from Liaquat National Hospital where they had tested positive for the lethal disease.

She said the second victim had a history of dealing with cattle and was in a serious condition when brought to the JPMC. He was suffering from high grade fever as well as internal and external bleeding, low platelets count and other comorbidities.

“We had moved both the patients to an isolation ward where they were given antiviral drugs, mega units and other symptomatic treatment, but they could not survive due to 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 said.

“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 the JPMC. People should take precautionary measures while dealing with cattle and livestock,” Dr Jamali said. She added that in case the symptoms of red spots on the body, high-grade fever and blood oozing from mouth and nose are found in any patient, they should be rushed to a major hospital.

According to Dr Kamran Rizvi, district officer (preventive) of Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, around 16 people died at various hospitals in Karachi last year due to CCHF, a 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.

He 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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