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BMC alerts hospitals to Congo threat

mumbai Updated: Jan 22, 2011 01:15 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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Sounding a precautionary note against the Crimean Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF), more commonly known as Congo fever, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has sent out an advisory to all civic hospitals, to take adequate measures to check its spread. With the haemorrhagic fever already claiming three lives in Gujarat, the BMC doesn’t want to take any chances.

Manisha Mhaiskar, additional municipal commissioner, said, “There have been no reported cases of the fever in Maharashtra. Hence, we don’t need to panic over this. But, we have sent a precautionary advisory to all civic hospitals and doctors, instructing them on things to look out for in patients.” Mhaiskar also said Congo fever only spreads through direct contact with the infected person.

Congo fever, found commonly in East & West African regions, is a viral haemorrhagic fever transmitted by ticks. The earlier symptoms of the disease are rashes, fever, dry cough, joint pain and later symptoms could be bleeding from the skin, mouth and nose. The virus can also be transmitted from animals to humans and has an incubation period of one to three days and a maximum of nine days.

Meanwhile, the state government is gearing up to ensure that the Congo virus does not enter the state. Health minister Suresh Shetty said an action plan for the prevention was being finalised. “We plan to focus on the Gujarat border from where the virus can be carried into our state.”

Principal secretary (public health) Bhushan Gagarani said on Friday, “For now, the virus is confined to Gujarat. There is no need to put Maharashtra on alert because no such case has been detected here so far.”

Congo fever may not reach state

HT Correspondent

Mumbai: The Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF), known as Congo fever, that claimed three lives in Gujarat and created panic is not likely to affect Maharashtra, said doctors on Thursday.

“It is not an air borne disease and whenever it has occurred in the past, it was restricted to a limited area. It cannot spread like swine flu,” said Dr Pradip Awate, state surveillance officer, Maharashtra health department.

Congo fever is a viral haemorrhagic fever transmitted by ticks.

The virus can also be transmitted from animals to humans and has an incubation period of three to nine days.

“Hopefully it will not spread but there have been cases reported of transmission through body fluids from one person to another,” said Dr Om Srivastav, unit head, Kasturba Hospital.

The infection can spread from the close contact with the infected person, said doctors.

“It is very important for healthcare workers coming in contact with the patients to observe bio safety precautions while treating patients,” said Dr Abhay Chowdhary, director, Haffekine Institute.

“This is one of the deadliest viruses known to mankind. When it is only limited to rash, it is manageable, but once it becomes a systemic illness involving multiple organs such as brain, kidney, spine and lungs, it becomes fatal,” said Srivastav.

The other similar tick borne viral hemorrhagic fever called Kyasanur Forest Disease was first reported from Kyasanur Forest of Karnataka in India in March 1957.

The disease manifested as an outbreak among monkeys killing several of them.