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Congo Fever Alert in Maharashtra

  • 30 Sep 2020
  • 3 min read

Why in News

The Palghar administration has asked authorities to remain alert against a possible spread of the Congo fever in the Maharashtra district.

Key Points

  • Background: Congo fever was first discovered in Crimea in 1944 and was named Crimean hemorrhagic fever.
    • Later in 1969, scientists discovered that the pathogen responsible for causing Crimean hemorrhagic fever and the one that caused illness in Congo in 1956 was the same.
    • Hence, the name changed to Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever.
  • Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF):
    • Cause: The CCHF is a widespread disease caused by a tick-borne virus (Nairovirus) of the Bunyaviridae family.
    • Transmission:
      • The virus is transmitted through bite of Hyalomma tick, an external parasite, living by feeding on the blood of mammals, birds etc.
      • It can also be contracted through contact with viraemic animal tissues (animal tissue where the virus has entered the bloodstream) during and immediately post-slaughter of animals.
    • Human-to-human transmission: It 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.
    • Fatality: CCHF outbreaks constitute a threat to public health services as the virus can lead to epidemics, with a high case fatality ratio (10-40%).
      • Case fatality rate (CFR) is a measure of the severity of a disease and is defined as the proportion of cases of a specified disease or condition which are fatal within a specified time.
    • CCHF is endemic in all of Africa, the Balkans, the Middle East and in Asia.
    • Symptoms:
      • Fever, muscle ache, dizziness, neck pain, 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, confusion, depression and liver enlargement.
  • Treatment:
    • General supportive care with treatment of symptoms is the main approach to managing CCHF in people.
    • The antiviral drug ribavirin has been used to treat CCHF infection with apparent benefit.
    • There are no vaccines widely available for human or animal use.

Source: IE

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