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Pak's Sindh braces for possible Congo fever outbreak; 5 dead

Press Trust of India  |  Karachi 

A possible outbreak of the Congo fever in Pakistan's Sindh province has triggered fear among residents and health officials ahead of next month's Eid festival after five people died due to the virus in a month.

The most recent death happened on Friday when a cattle trader from Bahawalpur died of the Crimean Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF), commonly known as the Congo fever, in Karachi.

The CCHF is a tick-borne viral disease.

Allah Ditta, 22, had come to Karachi to sell animals for sacrifice during the Eid ul Azha festival next month. His was the fifth death in Karachi due to the virus in the past month.

Ditta was admitted to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre on Wednesday and died on Friday while he was being treated. He had high fever for seven days with gum and nose bleeding, and bruises on his hands for two days.

Following Ditta's death, Karachi administration has issued notices to the Deputy Commissioner, Malir town, and the supervisor of the animal market on Karachi's outskirts to get all animals screened for deadly ticks that carry the virus.

A Sindh government spokesman said all animals in the market will be screened before being cleared for trading.

The animal market is considered the biggest in Asia with hundreds of thousands of sacrificial animals brought from all over Pakistan by traders and dealers ahead of Eid-ul Azha.

Dr Zafar Mehdi, of the government facility for prevention of naegleria and CCHF, said Ditta's was the third death due to the virus in the past three weeks.

A week before that, a 65-year-old man from Afghanistan died while a doctor from Bahawalpur has also died. The doctor contracted CCHF while treating a patient in Bahawalpur.

The provincial health ministry has asked authorities to cordon off the market area where Ditta had put his livestock.

Authorities have begun setting up isolation wards at all government and private hospitals following Ditta's death.

The CCHF, endemic in Africa, Balkans, the Middle East and Asia, and is commonly known as Congo fever.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, August 20 2016. 19:28 IST