Health ministry confirms Congo fever outbreak in Omusati region

The Ministry of Health and Social Services on Friday confirmed an outbreak of Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) in the Omusati Region.

A media statement issued by the ministry on Friday said a 74-yeal-old female patient from Oukwandongo village in Angola bordering Oukwandongo village in Outapi district, was on the first September treated at Outapi district hospital casualty with main symptoms related to CCHF.

The statement added that the patient visited the hospital with complaints of body weakness, diarrhoea, poor appetite, low grade fever of 37.5 degrees centigrade and a history of excessive alcohol consumption, was treated and sent home.

On the fifth September 2019, she returned to the hospital complaining of coughing blood, joint pain, nose bleeding and on examination, a tick was found on her left arm, and was removed resulting in her being admitted in hospital and placed in an isolated room, said the statement.

Blood was drawn and sent to the National Institute Communicable Diseases Regional Reference Laboratory in South Africa, where it tested positive for CCHF, the statement indicated.

Meanwhile, a team of three Epidemiologist residents was deployed on Friday to support the district with conduct tracing, which is planned to commence on 14 September 2019, as well as Additional Personal Protective Equipment have been prepared to be send to the district on 14 September 2019, read the statement.

CCHF virus can be transferred through tick bites, handling ticks with bare hands, direct contact with infected animal blood and organs during slaughtering infected meat.

It can further be transferred through direct contact with body fluids of a person who is infected with CCHF virus, direct contact with a body of a person who has died of CCHF and handling of contaminated linen, bedding and clothes of a person with CCHF without protection.

The ministry is urging anyone with the signs and symptoms to report to the nearest health facility and direct contact with persons with the virus should be avoided at all times, it noted.