New Delhi: Two suspected cases of Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF), commonly known as Congo fever have been reported in Jodhpur, following which the authorities have issued an alert in Rajasthan.
Also in Gujarat, a resident doctor has tested positive with the deadly condition. Congo fever is basically a viral fever transmitted by ticks.
The disease was first characterized in the Crimea in 1944 and given the name Crimean hemorrhagic fever. Later in 1969, it was recognised as the cause of illness in the Congo, thus resulting in the current name of the disease.
CCHF outbreaks have a case fatality rate of up to 40%. According to World Health Organization (WHO), The virus is primarily transmitted to people from ticks and livestock animals. Human-to-human transmission can occur resulting from close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected persons.
Onset of symptoms is sudden, with fever, myalgia, (muscle ache), dizziness, neck pain and stiffness, backache, headache, sore eyes and photophobia (sensitivity to light). There may be nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain and sore throat early on, followed by sharp mood swings and confusion. After two to four days, the agitation may be replaced by sleepiness, depression and lassitude, and the abdominal pain may localize to the upper right quadrant, with detectable hepatomegaly (liver enlargement) says WHO.
Currently, there’s no vaccine to control or prevent CCHF because infection in animals and ticks is difficult as tick-animal-tick cycle usually goes unnoticed. General supportive care can be given by correction of electrolyte abnormalities, careful attention to fluid balance, oxygenation and hemodynamic support.