Even as the Maharashtra government is finding it difficult to cope with the surging cases of COVID-19 in the state, a fresh problem has erupted for the Uddhav Thackeray-led government. The Palghar district administration on Tuesday asked authorities about a possible spread of Congo fever in the district.
Congo fever, also known as Crimean Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) spreads in humans through ticks.
The Palghar district administration said in the wake of the outbreak of COVID-19, this is a matter of concern for cattle-breeders, meat-sellers and animal husbandry officials. The district administration has also said that it is necessary to take timely precautions as there is no specific and useful treatment for the CCHF.
Virus can spread from Gujarat
Palghar animal husbandry department’s deputy commissioner Dr Prashant D Kamble in a circular said the CCHF has been found in some districts of Gujarat and is likely to spread to border districts of Maharashtra.
Palghar is close to Gujarat’s Valsad district. The department has instructed authorities to take all necessary precautions and implement preventive measures.
“This viral disease is transmitted from one animal to another by a specific type of tick. The disease is transmitted to humans through contact with the blood of infected animals and by eating the meat of infected animals,” the circular said.
“If the disease is not diagnosed and treated in time, 30 per cent of patients die,” it said.
Congo fever has fatality rate of up to 40%
The CCHF is a widespread disease caused by a tick-borne virus (Nairovirus) of the Bunyaviridae family. The virus causes severe viral haemorrhagic fever outbreaks, with a case fatality rate of 10 to 40 per cent, as per the World Health Organisation (WHO).
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There is no vaccine available for either people or animals against the disease, it said.
Human-to-human transmission can occur resulting from close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected persons.
Hospital-acquired infections can also occur due to improper sterilisation of medical equipment, reuse of needles and contamination of medical supplies, according to the WHO.
Four cases of CCHF recorded in Gujarat in 2020
Four cases of CCHF, or Congo fever, have been reported from Gujarat this year as against 35 cases and 17 deaths last year. Of the four cases reported in 2020, the first case was reported from Botad on March 4. The second case was again reported in Botad in May. The third case was also reported from Botad in July-end. The fourth case was reported from Abdasa in Kutch on March 13.
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