Crimean-Congo fever confirmed in Masindi

Friday January 4 2019

Crimean Congo Fever outbreak confirmed in Masindi

Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever is a viral haemorrhagic fever transmitted by ticks 

By FRANCIS MUGERWA & ISMAIL BATEGEKA

Medical officials have confirmed the outbreak of Crimean Congo fever in Masindi District in Western Uganda.
The disease has been confirmed in Kikingura village in Bwijanga Sub County.

Confirmation
"There is a health worker who died at the end of December 2018 and the blood sample tested positive for the haemorrhagic fever," said Mr Emmanuel Ainebyoona, the senior public relations officer at the Ministry of Health.

He said the deceased was given a supervised burial by medical officers to ensure that mourners are not exposed to any possible infection.
Asked about what Government is doing to handle the outbreak, Mr Ainebyoona said medical officers are on the ground to sensitize the public and following up on any suspected cases that may be reported.
“The public should remain calm and report to medical officers any suspected cases,” he added.
He advised that people should not confuse the Crimean Congo haemorrhagic fever with Ebola.

Scared residents
Residents in Kingura in Bwijanga Sub County Masindi are living in fear after their fellow resident, Simon Muhangamaiso died of what they said acute fever. He was buried on January 1, 2019 day by the officials from World Health Organization and medical officials from the Ministry of Health.

No relative was allowed to access the body.
The Masindi District health officer, Dr John Turyagaruka urged the residents to stay calm saying the tests taken from Muhangamaiso indicated that it was not Ebola but Crimean Congo haemorrhagic fever.
Alinaitwe Brendah, a resident says, they need healthy guidelines to follow in this crisis time to avoid contracting the disease.
“They should either write and display charts with the information about the diseases or move house to house teaching us how to handle the symptoms, “Mr Alinaitwe said.

The Bwijanga Sub County chairperson Olivia Mugisa wants the residents to be informed on how to protect themselves from the disease.
Ms Mugisa said they need healthy experts on the disease in the area to screen the residents.
“We need health experts on the disease to screen our locals, so that we can understand who is sick for emergency attention” Ms Olivia said.

Symptoms
According to WHO, onset of symptoms is sudden, with fever, myalgia, (muscle ache), dizziness, neck pain and stiffness, backache, headache, sore eyes and photophobia (sensitivity to light). There may be nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain and sore throat early on, followed by sharp mood swings and confusion. After two to four days, the agitation may be replaced by sleepiness, depression and lassitude, and the abdominal pain may localize to the upper right quadrant, with detectable hepatomegaly (liver enlargement).

Other clinical signs include tachycardia (fast heart rate), lymphadenopathy (enlarged lymph nodes), and a petechial rash (a rash caused by bleeding into the skin) on internal mucosal surfaces, such as in the mouth and throat, and on the skin.
The mortality rate from CCHF is approximately 30%, with death occurring in the second week of illness. In patients who recover, improvement generally begins on the ninth or tenth day after the onset of illness.

Fact box
Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever is a viral haemorrhagic fever transmitted by ticks. It can be responsible for severe outbreaks in humans but it is not pathogenic for ruminants, their amplifying host.
According to the WHO, the haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) spreads to humans either by tick-bites, or through contact with viraemic animal tissues during and immediately post-slaughter.
CCHF outbreaks constitute a threat to public health services because of its epidemic potential, its high case fatality ratio (10-40%), its potential for nosocomial outbreaks and the difficulties in treatment and prevention.

The disease was first described in the Crimea in 1944 and given the name Crimean haemorrhagic fever. In 1969 it was recognized that the pathogen causing Crimean haemorrhagic fever was the same as that responsible for an illness identified in 1956 in the Congo, and linkage of the two place names resulted in the current name for the disease and the virus.
In December 2017, the Ministry of Health in Uganda confirmed an outbreak of the Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever and Rift Valley Fever in Nakaseke and Luwero.
The Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) confirmed a positive case of CCHF in Nakaseke district. As of January 18, 2018, two confirmed and seven suspected cases had been investigated in Nakaseke district.
Three of the seven suspected cases were close relatives of the patient. Samples from the seven suspected cases tested negative for CCHF.

editorial@ug.nationmedia.com

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