KARACHI: As sacrificial animals for Eidul Azha arrive in the cattle markets, one hears of more cases of Congo fever being reported from different parts of the country. Two years ago, my 20-year-old nephew was afflicted with something called Viral Haemorrhagic Fever ahead of Eidul Azha. He bled profusely from the nose, ears and mouth. His urine and stool also contained blood and this continued for nine days. Doctors were of the opinion that my nephew had contracted the virus through sacrificial animals. He was kept in quarantine for three days for fear of the Congo virus at a private hospital in Karachi. His blood samples were sent to a laboratory in the UK by the hospital, which confirmed that the virus wasn’t Congo.
During treatment, he received more than 40 bags of white blood cells and also had to undergo two sessions of dialysis because during treatment, his kidneys became affected. Our entire family sat outside the intensive care unit of the hospital for 11 days praying for his life and also offered our Eidul Azha prayers at the hospital mosque. By the grace of God, my nephew won the fight with the disease.
While we offer our religious rituals, it is equally important for each one of us to take care of ourselves and especially our children who mingle with sacrificial animals in the excitement ahead of Eidul Azha.
M Rafique Zakaria
Published in The Express Tribune, August 31st, 2016.