ISLAMABAD - Despite timely directives of the Federal Ministry of Health to quarters concerned regarding effective preemptive measures to combat the likely outbreak of Congo Crimean Haemorr-hagic Fever (CCHF) in the backdrop of slaughtering of sacrificial animals, neither the livestock experts had surveyed the cattle markets before allowing business there nor they had launched any awareness drive for the visitors. Though, so far, no effective vaccine has yet been invented, which can cure the disease or hinder the transfer of disease from animal to human and also in the absence of any awareness drive on the part of concerned authorities, people themselves could reduce the risk of disease by taking preventive measures at homes. Although an inactivated, mouse brain-derived vaccine against CCHF has been developed and used on a small scale, but there is no safe and effective vaccine widely available for human use, apprised an official of WHO Dr Saim Sumro. In current scenario, humans who become infected with CCHF would acquire this virus from direct contact with blood or other infected tissues of sacrificial animals, or they may become infected from a tick bite, Sumro said. He suggested that the parents should keep their children at bay from the sacrificial animals markets, as they could fall prey to the disease. He also suggested the mothers that they should regular examine clothing and skin of their children for ticks, especially during the three days of Eid. He said the people could take practical measures to protect themselves from this deadly disease including the use of repellents on the skin and wearing gloves or other protective clothing to prevent skin contact with infected tissue or blood. Onset of symptoms, according to him, is sudden with fever, aching muscles, dizziness, neck pain and stiffness, backache, headache, sore eyes and photophobia (sensitivity to light). There may be nausea, vomiting and sore throat early on, which may be accompanied by diarrhoea and generalised abdominal pain, he added. After the onset symptoms, over the next few days, the patient may experience sharp mood swings, and may become confused and aggressive. After two to four days, the agitation may be replaced by sleepiness, depression and lassitude, and the abdominal pain may localise to the right upper quadrant, with detectable liver enlargement, he added. The mortality rate from CCHF is approximately 30 percent, with death occurring in the second week of illness, he added in addition, in those patients who recover, improvement generally begins on the ninth or tenth day after the onset of illness. The length of the incubation period for the illness appears to depend on the mode of acquisition of the virus. Following infection via tick bite, the incubation period is usually one to three days, with a maximum of nine days. The incubation period following contact with infected blood or tissues is usually five to six days, with a maximum of 13 days, he informed. Dr Sumro warned that dozens of sheep markets in various parts of the city might trigger the spread of the virus during Eid days as neither livestock experts had surveyed these places before allowing business there nor they had issued guidelines for the cattle handlers and visitors.