On Monday, a person, who was earlier diagnosed with the Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever while he was in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), was admitted to a private hospital in Thrissur district of Kerala allegedly following complaints of urinary infection. The patient’s blood sample has been sent to a lab in Manipal for confirmation of the virus. He is reportedly admitted to the isolation ward.
The Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever, commonly known as the Congo fever, is primarily transmitted to human beings from ticks and livestock animals and is considered to be endemic in the Middle East, Africa, Balkans and Asia. Human-to-human transmission can be through contact with infected ticks or animal blood. The tick-borne virus, causing the infection, belongs to the Bunyaviridae family.
According to the US-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the virus was first reported in Crimea in 1944 and then later in Congo in Africa in 1969. CCHF symptoms are similar to those of common viral fevers such as headache, back pain, joint pain, stomach pain, vomiting, red eyes and high fever.
People who are at risk of exposure to the virus are mostly livestock workers, animal herders and those employed in slaughterhouses. Travellers going to countries endemic to CCHF are also at risk of exposure.
Some of the diagnostic tests used to confirm the virus are antigen detection, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and serum neutralisation. Since no vaccine exists either for humans or animals, treatment is currently restricted to supportive care for symptoms.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) proposes a slew of preventive steps to reduce transmission such as wearing long-sleeved protective clothing, using repellents on skin and clothing and quarantining animals before they are brought to slaughter-houses.