Zeeshan Rasool Khan

Tackling Congo-Fever

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As the world is struggling to fight against the viral disease –Covid-19, reports of other infectious diseases like Bubonic Plague in China and Congo Fever in Maharashtra India have surfaced. COVID-19 has taken a heavy toll on masses. Amidst this, outbreak of any other infection, even if treatable, is likely to cause horror. The Congo Fever in Maharashtra thus has become a cause of concern. An alert has been issued by authorities in Maharashtra’s Palghar district against Congo Fever.

Congo fever was first discovered in Crimea in 1944 and was named as Crimean hemorrhagic fever. Later in 1969, it was discovered that the pathogen responsible for causing Crimean hemorrhagic fever and the one, which caused illness in the Congo in 1956 was the same. So, it was rechristened Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever or simply Congo Fever.

Crimean –Congo hemorrhagic fever is a viral disease that typically spreads by Tick bites or contact with livestock carrying this disease. The virus also spreads through body fluids. It has been found that those affected by this disease are mostly associated with agriculture, especially involving farmers and workers in slaughterhouses. Thus, being an agrarian society, the emergence of this disease in India is not unexpected. Though findings have shown that less than half of infected people die due to this disease but its fatality rate cannot be neglected. It is therefore important to adopt an approach for its containment.

Before we think about curbing this disease, it is essential to know its occurrence, which is possible through the knowledge about its signs and symptoms. The symptoms of this disease include; Fever, muscle pain, joint pain, headache, diarrhea, and vomiting. In the case of bad containment of first symptoms, it can lead to mood instability, agitation, mental confusion, and other liver problems.

No vaccine is available for this disease, so all that we can do is to take precautions.

Few precautionary measures are:- (A) Where there are possibilities of mammalian tick- infection, de-ticking farm animals before transportation or delivery for slaughterhouse becomes the necessity. (B) Use of insect repellents, adequate clothing- which include gloves, full sleeve shirts, laces shoes with socks, etc. to prevent direct contact with ticks. (C) Avoiding contact with blood and body fluids of livestock. (D) After slaughtering, ensure that blood is buried underground (E) Sanitation is important, after handling animals or their meat, washing of the body and hands is vitally necessary (F) Maintain distant contact with an infected person, after dealing with him/her,  ensure sanitization. (G) Use drugs that kill the ticks (acaricides) to get rid of them.

There is no need to panic about this fever, however; preventive measures are to be taken necessarily to have protection from this disease so that its deadly effects are avoided.

– The author writes on diverse issues and can be reached at [email protected]

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