WHO concerned over rising number of Congo fever cases

Expert blames lack of awareness as a major factor contributing to the spread of the disease.


Sehrish Wasif June 24, 2012

ISLAMABAD:


The World Health Organization (WHO) has expressed concern over the recent outbreak of measles and Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF), commonly known as Congo fever, in some parts of the country.


According to WHO Weekly Epidemiological Bulletin, 22 suspected cases of CCHF were reported throughout the country, out of which 15 cases were confirmed, leading to five deaths this year. Out of 15 cases reported from Balochistan, 13 cases were in Quetta.

Disease Early Warning System (DEWS) Senior Surveillance Officer at WHO, Dr Musa Rahim, said, “Currently, the situation is not alarming but it is worrisome and immediate measures need to be taken to control these outbreaks, which spread rapidly.”

“Cases of Congo fever are being reported from Balochistan and the victims are workers who work in farmhouses or are associated with the leather business,” he added.

The WHO DEWS team is working in close coordination with the health department to control the outbreak of Congo fever.

The district health department has planned a door-to-door distribution of flyers in Quetta to raise awareness on the hazards of exposure to ticks and fresh blood when animals are butchered.

Measles, too, is becoming a cause of concern. This year, 5,663 cases of measles were reported. Of these 77 children died.

Dr Rahim said the reason behind the outbreak of measles is the suboptimal coverage of vaccination in some parts of the country. “Some places were inaccessible to the teams, while in other instances families refused vaccination.”

Published In The Express Tribune, June 24th, 2012.

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