From the onset of Eid -ul- Azha, since sacrificial small and large animals have start coming to cattle markets, Congo Fever rumors are on the peak nowadays. Livestock departments of every provinces are making great measures to eradicate minimum chances of this disease. I just saw a post on Facebook where it was mentioned that Livestock Department’s Spray teams at Pindi Bhatian, Motorway are busy spraying and quarantining every single passing sacrificial animal trucks and pickups, so that there will be minimum chances of any vulnerable animal to secure an entry in cattle markets.
I was checking helpful articles available for general audience who browse internet, found some with too much technical language, and some with very limited and incorrect content. So, thought of writing an accurate and precise article with simple and easy wording.
The First Case of Congo Fever in Pakistan:
In September 2010, First Case of Congo Fever was reported in KPK. But because of improper record keeping, the extent of that outbreak went unknown. However, some reports indicates that there were over 100 cases. The second case was reported on 11th July, 2014 in Hayatabad Medical Complex, Peshawar.
Death Toll in 2016:
The death toll in 2016 from Congo Fever has reached to 19. With 12 deaths from Quetta, 5 in Karachi and 2 in Bahawalpur.
Nature and Transmission of Congo Fever Virus:
Congo Fever is a fatal viral tick borne disease. The virus belongs to group “NairoVirus”. The disease has been diagnosed in more than 30 countries in Africa, Middle East, Asia and East Europe. The reason of its widespread occurrence is that the tick which belongs to family “Hyalomma” is very common in these areas. These ticks feeds on small and large animal’s blood to complete their life cycle.
There are 4 types of viral transmission:
- Ticks to Small or Large Livestock
- Ticks to Humans
- Infected Livestock to Humans
- Humans to Humans
The Congo Fever Virus first enters in these ticks, but it does not do any harm to the ticks, it doesn’t infect the ticks. The virus also has the capability to transfer from one generation to other. However, when the tick start feeding on small or large animal’s blood, the virus infects the animals. Human transmission takes place when these ticks comes in contact with the humans, or with the blood or tissue of infected animal. Human to Human transmission is also common during acute phase of this disease.
Some Other Routes of Transmission of Congo Fever:
Any attempt for crushing the tick can also result in infection of Congo fever. People working in hospitals are also at great risk, transmission can be occur via injections and surgical instruments if not sterilized, also the body fluids of affected persons can contribute to its further transmission.
Virus Dies While You Cook the Meat:
It should be noted that eating well cooked food cannot result in infection no matter if the meat is affected because the virus cannot survive the heat while cooking.
Symptoms of Congo Fever:
- Symptoms in Livestock
- Symptoms in Humans
In livestock only transient signs of disease are prevalent. Mild raise of body temperature with very minute evidence of clinical disease.
In humans symptoms of Congo fever are high fever, vomiting, diarrhea, throat pain. In some cases hemorrhages, mood swings, inability to focus, pain in eyes and sensitivity to light have also been reported.
Treatment of Congo Fever:
For effective treatment the disease should need to be diagnosed in its early stages. Special attention should be paid to fluid and electrolyte balance. Secondary infections should be dealt in their way. According to some studies “Ribavirin” has proved very efficient in treatment of Congo virus.
Preventive Measures against Congo Fever:
Preventive measures against Congo fever are not that easy because the affected animals may go unnoticed.
- So, there is a need of regular record keeping and monitoring of animals where there are kept. Acaricides comes very handy to minimize the spread of ticks.
- The persons who take care of the livestock are also at constant risk of infection. They should wear light colored protective clothing with gloves, for easy detection of ticks on clothes, to avoid direct contact with animal or animal tissues. Spraying acaricides on clothes also comes very handy.
- People working in hospitals should also wear protective clothing while taking care of infected persons.
- Waste material of sacrificial animals should be disposed properly.
- Separate Isolation wards should be available in hospitals for treatment of patients suffering from Congo Fever.
- The primary focus of Government should be on villages, since they are the primary location of viral outbreaks where animals are kept and bred.