First case of Congo fever detected in Gujarat after 2016
The Health Department has gone into overdrive after a 75-year-old resident of Surendranagar who died at SVP Hospital in Paldi was confirmed to be a positive case of Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF). This is the first case of Congo fever reported from Gujarat this year.

Victim Sukhi Borana of Jamdi village was initially admitted to CU Shah Medical College and Hospital in Surendranagar. When her condition worsened, she was transferred to SVP Hospital on August 19. She died on August 20. When a test of her blood sample revealed the CCHF virus on August 24, a state of surveillance was initiated in the village where 725 people reside in 137 houses. The residents have all been put on Congo fever watch, with the health and animal husbandry departments working in conjunction to prevent more animal to human transmissions.
Officials are also keeping a keen eye on over 500 sheep, goats and cattle in the village. On Monday, "Local medical employees are spreading awareness about the disease among the population." At SVP, after informing state authorities about the test results, SVP officials got all doctors, nurses, and other staff tested for Congo fever. Three staff members have been admitted to the ICU for observation. The condition of all three is said to be stable and their blood samples have been sent for testing.

On Sunday, another suspect Congo fever patient was admitted to SVP Hospital. A sample of the patient's blood has been sent to Virology Centre in Pune to test for the virus. Samples of nine animal serums and nine ticks collected from cattle have also been sent for tests to Pune.

What is Congo fever?
Crimean Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) is a virus-based disease that has a 10-40% rate of death among those who contract it. It is a zoonotic disease transmitted from animals to humans via ticks that acts as carriers, or through infected blood. It may also be transmitted through lack of sterilisation and reuse of medical supplies in hospitals.

It is endemic to Africa, the Balkans, Middle-East and Asia and was seen in Gujarat for the first time in 2011.

The virus has an incubation period of 13-14 days. nset 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 petechiae may give way to larger rashes called ecchymoses, and other haemorrhagic phenomena. There is usually evidence of hepatitis, and severely ill patients may experience rapid kidney deterioration, sudden liver failure or pulmonary failure after the fifth day of illness.

CCHF virus infection can be diagnosed by several different laboratory tests:
-Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA);
-Antigen detection;
-Serum neutralization;
-Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay; and
-Virus isolation by cell culture.
Patients with a fatal disease, as well as in patients in the first few days of illness, do not usually develop a measurable antibody response and so diagnosis in these individuals is achieved by virus or RNA detection in blood or tissue samples.

To control it, state government is using ribavirin antiviral medication. General supportive care with treatment of symptoms is the main approach to managing CCHF in people.

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