Islamabad - National Institute of Health (NIH) on Friday issued an advisory for prevention and control of Congo Fever for upcoming Eid-ul-Azha, as there is no vaccine for the disease, people have been advised to avoid close contact with animals, an official said.

Balochistan remains the most affected province, yet cases have been reported from almost all geographical regions of the country. During 2016, out of 101 confirmed CCHF cases 33 were died (CFR: 33 per cent).  During 2017 till date, a total of 41 confirmed cases have been reported (16 cases from Balochistan, 15 from Punjab, seven from KPK and three from FATA). The latest fatal case reported from Khyber Agency, FATA on 16th August 2017.

The Field Epidemiology & Disease Surveillance Division (FEDSD), NIH issued an advisory regarding Prevention & Control of CCHF.

The objective of this advisory is to sensitise human and animal healthcare authorities to further strengthen and improve the level of preparedness in prevention and control of CCHF.

According to the advisory, Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) is a widespread disease caused by a tick-borne virus (Nairovirus) of the Bunyaviridae family with a case fatality rate of 10–40 per cent. Ticks, especially of the Hyalommagenus are both reservoir and vector for the CCHF virus. Numerous wild and domestic animals, such as cattle, buffaloes, goats, and sheep are silent carriers of this virus and the adult ticks feed on these animals.

The CCHF virus is transmitted to people either by tick bites or through contact with infected animal blood or tissues during and immediately after slaughter.

Public health workers along with animal herders, Veterinarians, Para-veterinary staff, livestock workers, animal merchants, butchers and slaughterhouse workers are at risk of the disease.

Apart from them the close contacts caring the suspected case and person involved in burial practices are also at risk of getting infection.

There is currently no vaccine available for human and the only way to reduce infection is by raising awareness. Public health advice should focus on several aspects including wearing protective clothing (long sleeves, long trousers).

Wear light coloured clothing during visit to cattle market/mandi to allow easy detection of ticks on the clothes and regularly examine clothing and skin for ticks; if found, remove them safely; and use approved repellents on clothing and skin.

Don’t crush the ticks, wear gloves and other protective clothing while handling animals or their tissues, notably during slaughtering, butchering and culling procedures in slaughterhouses or at home.

Avoid close physical contact with CCHF-infected people, wear gloves and protective equipment when taking care of ill people, wash hands frequently after caring or visiting ill people and Insect repellents are the most effective in warding off ticks in human populations.

Safe burial practices include spraying the dead body with 1:10 liquid bleach solution and then wrapping in winding sheet. The winding sheet should be sprayed with bleach solution, then the body be placed in a plastic bag, which should be sealed with adhesive tape. Disinfect the transport vehicle and burn all clothing of the deceased.