With two more persons testing positive for the highly-infectious Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF), which killed three people in Gujarat earlier this week, Ahmedabad is in the grip of fear of this new killer infection.
Though sporadic human cases and outbreaks of this primarily tick-borne animal infection occur in Africa, Europe and Asia, including Pakistan and Iran, this is first time it has been confirmed in India.
So far, the infection appears contained as all those who have been infected or killed were in close contact with Amina Momin, 30, who was the first person to be diagnosed with the infection.
Of the two persons found positive on Friday, one is her husband Rehman Momin, and the second a male nurse who had treated Amina in a private hospital in the city. The two deaths reported earlier this week were of a doctor and a nurse who had treated Amina.
“Two more cases have tested positive of the virus causing CCHF. Both are undergoing treatment and have been isolated. While the health authorities have sent 132 samples for testing at Pune laboratory,” said additional director (health services) Paresh Dave. On Thursday, 58 samples sent from Gujarat were found negative.
BJ Medical College in Ahmedabad has been declared the dedicated hospital for isolation and treatment.
Meanwhile, the state health authorities have launched a massive screening and survey operation in around half a dozen villages near Kolat, 35 km from Ahmedabad, from where the virus originated.
“Around 40 teams comprising doctors and public health officials are involved in surveying work for last three days while veterinarians and officials of animal husbandry department have administered hundreds of animals with disinfectant to kill ticks,” Dave added.
Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) infection is a tick-based virus that primarily infects domestic and wild animals.
Humans get infected from tick-bite or direct contact with blood or other infected tissues from infected animals.
Symptoms include fever, aching muscles, dizziness, neck pain and stiffness, backache, headache, sore eyes and photophobia (sensitivity to light).
Prevention includes treating infected people in isolation,
protecting yourself from livestock and wearing gloves or other protective clothing.