Commonly known Congo Fever or Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) is a deadly and dangerous viral infection communicated to human beings from animals. Ahead of Eid-ul-Adha, people may infect with deadly virus which may spread through the bearing ticks of sacrificial animals.
The Pakistan Agricultural Research Council issued safety guidelines as thousands of livestock are being transported for sacrifice during the Eid ul-Adha.
The increase in animal handling and use of fresh meat during the Eid-ul-Adha raises the risk of communicating the tick-borne viral disease to humans.
The Congo Fever viral disease causes no symptoms in livestock. It spreads by the bite of infectious tick; contact with blood and body secretions of infectious animals during or immediately after slaughter. The CCHF also spreads from one infectious human to other human.
Common people are at high risk when going to purchase sacrificial animal. The livestock farmers, abattoir workers, butchers, veterinary and para-veterinary staff are at high risk of acquiring disease.
In 1976 the first case of Congo Fever virus was surfaced in Pakistan. During 1976-2010 there were 14 cases reported. Since then, this deadly CCHF virus is increasing.
The CCHF has no symptoms in animal; only a transient fever is an indication and most of the times people overlook this symptom. One can not diagnose this disease in animals, only indication is the presence of tick.
There is no specific treatment or vaccine against CCHF and it is an emerging zoonotic disease in many countries. Recently, the incidence of CCHF are increasing rapidly in the countries of the World Health Organization-Eastern Mediterranean Region (WHO-EMR). Pakistan is as number 4 in the overall CCHF ranking cases in WHO-EMR.
Precautionary measures for Congo Fever
The precautionary measures for the Congo Fever are as follows:
- Keep away from the animals having ticks. Only select tick free animals for sacrificial purposes.
- Apply anti-tick sprays on animals before bringing them to animal market.
- Do not handle or try to pick ticks with bear hands from animals.
- The offal and leftover of animals must dispose-off properly. Like burying and handing over offal to municipal corporation staff.
- when going to animal markets, always wear full sleeve and bright color clothes. It is easy to identify ticks on bright colors.
- Use tick repellant before visiting animal markets.
- Avoid unnecessary visit to animal market.
- It is better to have domestic animals for sacrificial purposes.
- Do not handle meat with bare hands.
- Keep children away from animals.
- After animal slaughtering, wash the area thoroughly using disinfectants .
- In case of appearance of symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, pain in muscles and abdomen, immediately consult physician.