Rajasthan on health alert after two suspected cases of Congo fever: Here is everything you need to know about this disease
The health department of Rajasthan issued an alert in the state after two children in Jodhpur were admitted in a hospital Monday night with suspected Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF).
According to the doctor, both the children were suffering from fever and headache when they were admitted. Reportedly they had caught the disease from their father who was already getting treatment for the disease in a hospital in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
CCHF, also called Congo fever, is a tick-borne disease with flu-like symptoms such as fever, muscle pain, dizziness and nausea. However, it also spreads through direct contact with infected individuals. Here is all you should know about the disease.
What is congo fever?
Congo fever is a viral fever caused by Nairovirus, a hemorrhagic virus in the Bunyaviridae family. The name Crimean-Congo fever comes from the fact that this fever was first identified in Crimea and Congo.
The disease is endemic to Africa, Asia and the Middle East; however, it is also found in Eastern Europe and the Mediterranian.
It mainly spreads through the bite of Ixodid ticks, or through animals who harbour the ticks, such as cattle, sheep and goat. But the disease can also be transmitted through direct contact with bodily secretions of the infected person. People working in the livestock and agriculture industry are most at risk.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the symptoms of CCHF appear in about three to nine days if the disease is acquired from a tick bite, though they can take five to 13 days when transmitted from an infected person. Regardless of the mode of transmission, the disease manifests as:
- Muscle ache
- Sore throat
- Sensitivity to light
- Abdominal pain and diarrhoea
After three days, the abdominal pain localises to the upper right side - in the area of the liver. Liver enlargement may occur and the person usually starts to feel lethargic, depressed and sleepy.
Red eyes, red spots on the skin (petechiae) and rapid heart rate are some other symptoms.
The person may also notice nosebleeds and severe bruising after the fourth day.
CCHF leads to death in up to 40% cases - most deaths occur in the second week. Even after prompt treatment, the condition takes about nine or 10 days to show any signs of improvement.
Diagnosis and treatment
CCHF is usually diagnosed through ELISA. Starting from day six of the disease, ELISA helps detect antibodies in the blood against the disease. In severe cases, however, or in really early cases where antibodies are not yet apparent in the blood, detecting the virus in the blood is the only way to diagnose the condition. This is done through a viral culture technique.
So far, there is no cure for CCHF. Supportive treatment is given to patients to control symptoms and improve health. This includes fluid replacement, regular monitoring of vitals - blood pressure, pulse, etc. - and prevention of secondary infections. Antiviral drugs may also be given to control the growth and spread of the virus.
What can you do to prevent it?
Since the disease spreads in three different way — direct tick bite, contact with an infected animal, and contact with a patient — it is important to take precautions against its transmission. Here are some pointers that may help you stay safe from the fever:
- Wear full-sleeved shirts and trousers. People working with livestock or in the agriculture industry should always use gloves while working
- Use pesticides to control tick population in animal houses
- You can also apply tick repellents on your skin and clothes
- Avoid contact with patients
- If someone in your family acquires the infection, make sure to regularly wash your hands or use gloves while caring for them
Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health. To know more on this topic, please visit http://www.myupchar.com/en/disease/crimean-congo-haemorrhagic-fever
The information provided here is intended to provide free education about certain medical conditions and certain possible treatment. It is not a substitute for examination, diagnosis, treatment, and medical care provided by a licensed and qualified health professional. If you believe you, your child or someone you know suffers from the conditions described herein, please see your health care provider immediately. Do not attempt to treat yourself, your child, or anyone else without proper medical supervision. You acknowledge and agree that neither myUpchar nor firstpost is liable for any loss or damage which may be incurred by you as a result of the information provided here, or as a result of any reliance placed by you on the completeness, accuracy or existence of any information provided herein.
Updated Date: Sep 04, 2019 15:56:25 IST
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