Congo Hemorrhagic Fever
I just recently got a barrage of SMS’s saying that a few children passed away today after eating at Hot ‘n Spicy and Daltons and a couple have recently been admitted to AKU suffering the same disease. Rumor or not but the city is worried shit and hoping this virus does not become a widespread outbreak. I feel a careful study of the virus is important to bring everyone here abreast on the disease. So I took the liberty of doing a little bit of research on the Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) and decided to do a layman’s description of this disease for our Karachi based readership.
I would strongly prohibit people from spreading such news of an outbreak by a simple short 160-character SMS like the one I just received this type of rumor can create havoc as an uncontrolled rumor of an outbreak is more damaging then the outbreak itself. Be calm and proceed intelligently.
What is Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever?
Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) is caused by infection with a tick-borne virus. The disease was first reported in the Crimea in 1944 and in 1969 was seen again in Congo claiming 63 lives deaths it later again appeared in Zaire in a deadly manner resulting in upwards of 400 deaths
How is CCHF spread and how do humans become infected?
The origin of this virus starts from Hard ticks found in animals (so any person interacting with animals is the first probable contact with this deadly virus). Once it commences the deadly pattern in humans than other people have to avoid contact with infected blood and body fluids (saliva and sweat). Medical doctors are specially prone to this disease if they don’t follow proper sterilization protocol
What are the symptoms of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever?
CCHF is very sudden and can start anywhere after 2 days to 21 days after infection, with initial signs and symptoms including headache, high fever, back pain, joint pain, stomach pain, and vomiting. As the illness progresses, large areas of severe bruising, severe nosebleeds, and uncontrolled bleeding at injection sites can be seen, beginning on about the fourth day of illness and lasting for about two weeks.
How is Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever diagnosed?
Laboratory diagnosis of CCHF is done by a blood test for the viral antigen.
Is the disease ever fatal?
Fatality rates in hospitalized patients have ranged from 9% to as high as 50%.
How is Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever treated?
Treatment for CCHF is primarily hospitalization and supportive care ensuring all bodily system function normally. Hospitalize the patient immediately and let the professionals take delicate care. Follow a strict prevention protocol by avoiding direct contact. The virus has been found to be sensitive to the antiviral drug ribavirin in a few cases but this is not the cure for all.
How is the disease prevented?
Be very careful in contacting people infected with this disease, simply avoid any direct contact with infected blood or bodily fluids. Don’t reuse injection needles and all surgical instruments should be sterilized according to the normal methods. If you suspect a close family member being infected obtain a consultation from a medical specialist ASAP who may want to do a series of blood tests