The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) confirmed that nine people have tested positive for the Congo fever or Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever in Gujarat. However, according to Dr R R Gangakhedkar, head of Epidemiology and Communic-able Diseases division at ICMR who holds the additional charge as director of Pune-based National Institute of Virology (NIV), “this is a small outbreak”.
“Of 78 samples tested from Gujarat in August this year, virologists have been able to confirm the presence of the virus in nine samples. Moreover, out of the two samples sent from Rajasthan one has tested positive,” Dr Gangakhedkar told The Indian Express.
According to Gujarat Health Department officials, four patients have so far succumbed to the fever in the state.
Dr Dinkar Raval of the state health department said, “The last patient died on September 3, but we received news on her sample testing positive for CCHF late Wednesday night.”
CCHF is an infection spread by animals – mainly sheep, cattle, buffalo and goats. Congo fever is a viral haemorrhagic fever transmitted by ticks.
According to ICMR officials, when patients with CCHF are admitted to hospital, there is a risk of nosocomial spread of infection. In the past, serious outbreaks occurred in this way and it is imperative that adequate infection control measures are observed to prevent this spread. Healthcare workers in endemic areas should be aware of the illness and take preventive measures, they said.
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