Maharashtra: Congo Fever Alert

Maharashtra district on alert due to the spread of Congo Fever.

While the world is battling through the COVID-19 pandemic this year, other infectious diseases also seem to be coming our way which can spread and infect people at large. Palghar district in Maharashtra has been put on alert against the Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever, while the state has already been affected at large by the Coronavirus.

A Congo Fever alert was issued by the Palghar administration on Monday, as four cases were reported in the neighboring district of Gujarat. The administration asked cattle feeders, meat sellers, and staff of the state animal husbandry department to take necessary precautions and thereby watch out for symptoms of the disease.

People who have been showing symptoms like headache, high fever, joint pains, abdomen pain and nausea, redness of the eyes, bleeding from the nose are asked to report to the district administration with immediate effect.

The virus is transmitted through a bite of the Hyalomma tick, an external parasite, living by feeding on the blood of mammals, birds, etc.

The Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) commonly known as the Congo fever is a viral infection, which usually spreads through the bite if a tick. The infection is caused by the nairovirus, which is from the family of Bunyaviridae.

The disease was first spread in the Crimea region in 1944 and was named after it, it's name changed to Congo fever when the virus spread in Congo in 1969. Officials have warned poultry sellers and consumers against the disease, in Maharashtra, along with alerting them to follow proper precautions for Congo fever.

The fever is transmitted through the tick-borne virus, the bite of Hyalomma tick, or an external parasite, which lives by feeding on the blood of mammals, birds, etc. Hard ticks especially from the family of Hyalomma have been considered as the vectors for the disease. The virus is usually found in animals and is transmitted to humans with animal blood or an infected tick. It can spread among humans only through the contact of blood or body fluids. The symptoms of the disease include headache, fever, back pain, joint pain, stomach pain, and vomits. Red eyes, jaundice, and flushed face are also common.

Bruising, nosebleeds, uncontrolled bleeding, can also be seen, when the disease progresses to later stages. The recovery from this CCHF is very slow.

The virus is sensitive in vitro to the antiviral drug ribavirin and has been used for treating the disease.

To reduce the risk of the disease, people should wear gloves and use insect repellents on animals, along with taking proper care of hygiene.

It has been reported by IANS that there is no commercialized vaccine ready for the disease yet. The virus has a mortality rate between 10-40 percent.

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