KARACHI -  As Eid-ul-Azha is drawing closer, a prominent health expert, Prof Dr Shahana Urooj Kazmi, has emphasised upon the need for creating public awareness against Congo fever.

Speaking at a seminar, Dr Shahana Urooj Kazmi, the Vice Chancellor of Dadabhoy Institute of Higher Education (DIHE), said there was need for creating awareness in the public visiting animal markets as well as those handling animals’ leftovers, buyers and butchers.

She said Congo fever could become a grave concern if preventive measures are not taken during Eid-ul-Azha. Citizens must take special preventive measures in these days to protect themselves from carrying Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF), she added.

Prof Dr Shahana  Kazmi informed that CCHF or Congo fever is a widespread disease caused by a tick-borne virus. The hosts of the CCHF virus included a wide range of wild and domestic animals such as cattle, sheep and goats.

Animals become infected by the bite of infected ticks and the virus remains in their bloodstream for about one week after infection, allowing the tick-animal-tick cycle to continue when another tick bites.

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.

The seminar was organised in connection with World Mosquito Day.  It was noted that according to World Health Organisation (WHO), mosquito bites result in the deaths of more than one million people every year. The majority of these deaths are due to malaria.