Eid ul Azha is approaching and so are the frightening threats of Congo Virus. The concerned authorities are working on animal inspection in every city where the livestock markets have been set-up, but the death toll is continuously rising. Six people from Karachi, one from Rawalpindi and 10 from Quetta have died as per the recent news because of Congo virus. Due to the lack of information and prevalent misconceptions, people are unable to tackle the situation effectively. So, we have compiled a complete guide to help you prevent Congo Virus along with the steps you should take before bringing the animal for Eid ul Azha at home.
What Is Congo Virus?
Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) is a widespread disease caused by a tick-borne virus (Nairovirus). These ticks are found on the animals’ infected body parts, or where there is blood exposure; the slaughterhouses. Animals are infected by the bite of the infected ticks and the virus remains in their bloodstream for about one week after infection, allowing the tick-animal-tick cycle to continue when another tick bites. However, it is to be noted that the infected animals may appear healthy.
How Does It Effect Humans?
The CCHF virus is transmitted to people either by tick bites or through contact with infected animal blood or tissues during and immediately after slaughter.
What Are The Symptoms Of Congo Virus?
Early symptoms are sudden fever, muscle ache, dizziness, neck pain and stiffness, backache, headache, sore eyes and photophobia (sensitivity to light). There may be nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and sore throat, followed by sharp mood swings and confusion. After two to four days, the agitation may be replaced by sleepiness, depression and lassitude, and abdominal pain may localize to the upper right quadrant
How To Protect Yourself From Congo Virus?
There are no vaccines available for infected animals as tick-animal-tick cycle usually goes unnoticed and the infection in domestic animals is usually not apparent. In the absence of a vaccine, the only way to reduce infection in people is by raising awareness of the risk factors and educating people about the measures they can take to reduce exposure to the virus.
- wear gloves and other protective clothing around the animals in the endemic areas
- wear light colored clothing to allow easy detection of ticks on the clothes and do a routinely treatment of animals with pesticides two weeks prior to slaughter.
- use approved acaricides (chemicals intended to kill ticks) on clothing.
- use approved repellent on the skin and clothing.
- regularly examine clothing and skin for ticks and if found, remove them safely;
- seek to eliminate or control tick infestations on animals or in stables and barns; and
- avoid areas where ticks are abundant and seasons when they are most active.
Precautions Before Visiting Congo Effected Person
- avoid close physical contact with CCHF-infected people;
- wear gloves and protective equipment when taking care of ill people;
- wash hands regularly after caring for or visiting ill people.
Following all the preventive measures should minimize risk of infection and knowledge of the symptoms will ensure effective and early initiation of treatment. Share this with information with your friends and family and we hope you have a blessed and safe Eid!