Congo fever outbreak in Omusati

17 September 2019 | Health

The health ministry has confirmed an outbreak of Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) in the Omusati Region.

Its executive director, Ben Nangombe, said in a media statement that the outbreak was detected on 1 September when a 74-yeal-old female patient from Oukwandongo village in Angola bordering Oukwandongo village in Outapi district was treated at the Outapi district hospital's casualty centre with symptoms related to CCHF.

He said the patient, who visited the hospital with complaints of body weakness, diarrhoea, poor appetite, low-grade fever of 37.5 °C and a history of excessive alcohol consumption, was treated and sent home. On 5 September, the patient returned to the hospital complaining of coughing blood, joint pain, and nose bleeds and upon examination, a tick was found on her left arm. It was removed resulting in her being admitted in hospital and placed in an isolated room, he added. “Blood was drawn and sent to the National Institute Communicable Diseases Regional Reference Laboratory in South Africa, where it tested positive for CCHF,” he noted. Nangombe explained that a team of three epidemiologist residents was deployed on Friday to support the district with conducting tracing, which is commenced on Saturday, including additional personal protective equipment.

Nangombe urged anyone with signs and symptoms of CCHF to report to the nearest health facility, saying direct contact with persons with the virus should be avoided at all times. CCHF virus can be transferred through tick bites, handling ticks with bare hands, direct contact with infected animal blood and organs during slaughtering infected meat. It can further be transferred through direct contact with body fluids of a person who is infected with CCHF virus, direct contact with a body of a person who has died of CCHF and handling of contaminated linen, bedding and clothes of a person with CCHF without protection.

NAMPA

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