17 July 2013
Sample collected last week from infected individuals and sent to city–based National Institute of Virology; 7 dead so far
Six samples collected from infected individuals in Gujarat have tested positive for Congo fever in tests done by the city–based National Institute of Virology (NIV).
The recent outbreak of the Crimean–Congo Haemorrhagic fever (CCHF), which was reported in the neighbouring state of Gujarat around a week ago, is said to have claimed seven lives in the Amreli district so far.
The Gujarat government has started taking precautions to control the outbreak by monitoring infected people and spraying pesticides, even as many are migrating after the outbreak. Samples of those who have come in contact with the disease already were sent to NIV.
CCHF spreads through tick bites and is caused by a virus belonging to the Nairovirus group it is commonly known to infect wild as well as domestic animals, like sheep and cattle. Humans get infected when they come in contact with the blood or tissues of infected animals, or are bitten by infected ticks. Hence, people working in farms, slaughterhouses, veterinary hospitals etc. are at a higher risk of contracting the disease.
NIV Director Dr D T Mourya told Mirror, "So far, such ticks have only been found in Gujarat this year and Rajasthan in 2010. No one can predict if it will travel to other states but until now, no such ticks have been found in any other states. Presently, there is no monitoring as such going on in any other states."
Dr Amita Phadnis, director of the Oyster and Pearl Hospital, said, "CCHF is not as prevelant here as it is in East and West Africa. Symptoms include nose bleeds, black stools, bloody urine, moodiness etc. In 75 per cent of cases, patients recover, but in 25–30 per cent of severe cases, fatal haemorrhages can occur. In such cases, blood transfusions need to be done. Some patients need to be hospitalised. There is no specific medicine to cure it, but the anti–viral drug Ribavirin is given to patients."