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August 8, 2019

Precautions must to avoid congo fever while handling sacrificial animals


August 8, 2019

Rawalpindi : It is a must for individuals to follow precautionary measures to avoid incidence of the deadly infection Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever while handling sacrificial animals on and before Eidul Azha as the tick-borne viral infection kills 30-40 per cent of the infected individuals.

The infection that has already claimed three lives in Karachi and one life in Rawalpindi this year is caused by Nairovirus of the Bunyaviridae family transmitted to humans by the bite of infected Hyalomma tick that is mostly found on the skin of animals both wild and domestic animals such as cattle, sheep and goats.

Many health experts say that incidences of CCHF is possible at a time when a huge number of cattle, sacrificial animals, is being brought to town from far flung areas of the country ahead of Eidul Azha and a big chunk of animals might enter the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi without proper surveillance.

The most important thing is to create awareness among public on measures needed to avoid CCHF though so far no effective campaign has been launched for the purpose in the region by any of the concerned government authorities.

Data collected by ‘The News’ has revealed that Department of Infectious Diseases at Holy Family Hospital received a total of six suspected patients of CCHF this year of which only one, a 65-year old male patient was tested positive and he could not survive.

People must be made aware that CCHF is deadly and they must take extraordinary care while handling with sacrificial animals whether at market or at home, said Head of DID at HFH Dr. Muhammad Mujeeb Khan while talking to ‘The News’ on Wednesday.

The most important precautionary measure is that one must get sacrificial animal examined from a qualified veterinary doctor in case he or she finds it unhealthy or with any type of ticks on animal’s skin, he said.

While at market, people should wear gloves and light-coloured clothes so that in case they get ticks from an animal, these can be detected and removed easily, he said.

People should not buy unhealthy sacrificial animals or animals with any type of ticks on the skin. People should remain at a distance of one metre from the sacrificial animals to avoid infection and children should not be allowed to hug an animal particularly if it is found sick or having ticks, said District Health Officer Islamabad Dr. Muhammad Najeeb Durrani while talking to ‘The News’ on Wednesday.

He said the CCHF can be caused by direct contact with the blood of an infected animal or human. Exposure to blood or tissue of the infected animal during or post slaughtering and direct contact with blood or secretions of infected person may also cause transmission.

Medically, a confirmed patient of the infection is an important source of exposure for other people, particularly family members and healthcare workers and even a single confirmed case can cause spread leading to an outbreak of the infection. The severity of the infection can be gauged by one preventive measure only that to avoid spread of the infection, the transport vehicle that carry a confirmed patient or his dead body is needed to be disinfected by spraying 1:10 liquid bleach solution on any surfaces touching the body and all clothing of the deceased must be burnt.

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