Second Congo Fever case in Omaheke

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Staff Reporter

Windhoek-The Ministry of Health and Social Services on Friday confirmed a second case of the Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) in the Omaheke Region.

Health ministry spokesperson Ester Paulus said a 19-year-old man from Okongoua Village was reportedly bitten by a tick on March 1 and that the “patient presented CCHF-like symptoms on 5 March 2017 at the Corridor Post 13 primary health care clinic.”

She said the health ministry immediately transferred the patient to Gobabis State Hospital for treatment and for collection of samples.

“On 8 March 2017, the patient was transferred to Windhoek Central Hospital for further treatment and isolation. Results were presented on 9 March 2017, indicating positive to CCHF.

“The patient remains stable and is still being treated in the isolation unit at Windhoek Central Hospital,” Paulus confirmed.
She added that the health ministry is conducting investigations and providing health information and disinfecting the household at the village where the patient comes from.
Symptoms of a person with CCHF include the sudden onset of high fever, headache, backpain, joint pain, abdominal pain, dizziness, neck pain and stiffness, and bleeding. “A person can get CCHF through tickbites or by handling ticks with bare hands,” she said.

She also said that direct contact with infected animal blood and organs, including slaughter of animals with ticks attached and handling contaminated linen, beddings and clothes, or using contaminated medical equipment and supplies, other ways to get the disease.

To prevent CCHF infections people should check themselves for ticks after working with animals and remove these immediately using fine-tipped tweezers and they should protect their hands.

“Avoid areas where tick vectors are abundant and when they are active, avoid direct physical contact with body fluids, such as blood, saliva, vomit, stool, urine and sweat from infected persons,” Paulus advised.

She also said: “Do not use skin-piercing instruments which have been used by a person suspected to have CCHF and avoid using bedding and clothes of people who have died of CCHF.”

Last month, nine people were placed in isolation for being in contact with a 26-year-old man, who died of Congo Fever in the Gobabis State Hospital on February 22. They were later discharged when their results came back negative.

According to the health ministry, three other suspected cases – two in Omaheke and one in Oshikoto – also tested negative.

The first cases in Namibia were reported in 1986, one in Grootfontein, two in Windhoek, two in Gobabis, and one in Karasburg. One further case was reported in 1998 and two in 2001.

No CCHF-related deaths were previously recorded, the health ministry said earlier this month.

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