Pindi scrambles to contain Congo virus

Special camps and checkpoints set up to ensure safety of citizens and sacrificial animals

Jamil Mirza June 07, 2024
The Congo virus is untreatable and the condition can only be managed by supportive therapies. PHOTO: Online


After the death of two patients of the Congo virus at Benazir Bhutto General Hospital Rawalpindi, the Punjab Livestock and Dairy Development Department has imposed an emergency in Attock and other districts of the Rawalpindi division and started door-to-door spraying and cleaning.

All internal checkpoints have been established to ensure the health and fitness of animals brought to the cattle markets for Eidul Azha, including the largest cattle market at Bhatta Ground in Rawalpindi. The livestock authorities have set up special camps and issued regular SOPs for citizens visiting the market to purchase sacrificial animals.

Sacrificial animals brought to the cattle markets in the Rawalpindi district and surrounding areas for Eid will be examined at every internal checkpoint by the livestock officials. Any animal found infected with the deadly virus, lumpy skin or any other disease will not be allowed to enter the market. Such animals will be transferred to isolation camps established separately. 

The Congo virus is a dangerous virus that can spread from animals to humans and can even cause death. Recently, a butcher named Imran from Hazro, Attock, and a woman named Mrs Khiran from Jund, Attock, died of the Congo virus in Benazir Bhutto General Hospital on May 3 and May 18, respectively. In addition, Shahzeb from Fateh Jang, Attock was also admitted to the hospital with a high fever and was later discharged after testing negative for the Congo virus. Saddam from Chakwal has been still under treatment at Benazir Bhutto General Hospital for the past two months, with a high fever and bleeding from the nose. However, it is not yet confirmed whether the patient is infected with the Congo virus as his report is still awaited from the hospital.

Commenting on the development, Livestock Director Rawalpindi Division Dr Naveeda Sehar Zaidi said that check posts have been established at various locations, including Taxila, Gujar Khan, Kahuta, Rawat, GT Road, Pul Chhina, Sher Alam 2, Murree, and Wah Cantt.

Additionally, camps aided by doctors and para-medical staff and equipped with necessary medicines and equipment will be set up inside each cattle market, he said, adding the staff would work in three shifts a day at check posts and camps. The official further said that spraying would be done on animals in each market, which is not harmful to humans.

A complete livestock emergency had been imposed in Attock and door-to-door animal examination and spraying were being carried out, he added.

Meanwhile, Dr Zaidi issued regular SOPs for citizens visiting the cattle markets to purchase sacrificial animals, advising them to wear light-coloured clothes, avoid touching the animals' bodies, use masks, and not bring children to the markets.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 7th, 2024.


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