Congo fever claims life of 35-year-old Quetta native
A 35-year-old man hailing from Quetta died of the Congo Crimean Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) at a private hospital in Karachi on Wednesday, while another Congo fever patient – a teenager from Quetta – was admitted to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre’s intensive care unit in critical condition on Thursday, officials of the Sindh Health Department told The News.
As per the officials, four people brought from Balochistan – all residents of Quetta’s Satellite Town – for treatment of Congo virus have died at different hospitals in Karachi over the past six months.
The statistics surfaced after Abdullah Kakar, a 35-year-old resident of Quetta’s Satellite Town, died of the virus at a private hospital in Karachi on Wednesday. The victim had been under treatment at the hospital’s intensive care unit for the past few days, said a senior health official.
He revealed that a total of 45 patients brought to Karachi from Balochistan this year tested positive for the Congo virus, almost all of whom were residents of Quetta’s Satellite Town. The official said all four people who died of Congo fever in Karachi this year were also from Satellite Town, Quetta. The first patient to have died in Karachi this year was 15-year-old Shakira Abdul. She died on April 10, a day after she tested positive for the virus.
The next victim, as per the official, was 25-year-old Najeebullah Musakhail who expired on May 13, whereas 60-year-old Pir Muhammad Gul died at a private hospital on August 13. A highly contagious viral disease caused by a tick, Congo Crimean Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) has a mortality rate of 40 percent. Majority of those infected by the virus were found to have come in contact with cattle and other livestock.
A sharp increase in CCHF cases country-wide was witnessed after Eidul Azha but the trend in Balcohistan revealed that except for the latest death three of the people had contracted the disease well before Eid.
Patient admitted at JPMC
The patient admitted on Thursday to Ward 23 of JPMC’s ICU was identified as 18-year old Zubair Ahmed. He also hails from Quetta’s Satellite Town.
“Brought with a complaint of epistaxis (bleeding from the nose), the young boy has been admitted in the isolation ward of the ICU,” executive director of the JPMC Dr Seemi Jamali informed The News.
She said it was the first patient of CCHF brought to JPMC this year. Dr Seemi added that the medical facility has taken all precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the virus at the hospital.
Exemplary prevention measures
The health department, especially director health Karachi, Dr Muhammad Taufiq and Dr Zafar Mehdi, took exceptional measures during Eid to keep the virus from spreading, the health officer said. Dr Mehdi is the focal person of the CCHF Prevention Committee.
“Both the doctors visited legal as well as illegal cattle markets set up in the city and arranged for pesticide sprays for the cattle and made cattle owners aware of the disease’ hazards. Their efforts helped in preventing Congo cases in Karachi.” the official said.
He added that not a single case has so far been reported in the city despite arrival of cattle from all over the country.