Keetmanshoop man dies of Congo Fever

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ONEMANYA, 08 August 2017 - Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr Bernard Haufiku. (Photo by Mathias Nanghanda) NAMPA

Staff Reporter
Windhoek

The Ministry of Health and Social Services yesterday confirmed that the 37-year-old Keetmanshoop resident who last week tested positive for Crimean Congo Haemorrhagic Fever has died.
Congo Fever claimed the man’s life at 05h00 on Tuesday morning.

According to a statement by Dr Bernard Haufiku, the minister of health, the man had assisted a neighbour to slaughter a cow that was infested with ticks on Independence Day. Six days later, he sought medical help for the symptoms related to the virus.

“He was later transferred to Windhoek Central Hospital isolation unit on  March 30, 2018 after he tested positive for Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever for further management,” explained Haufiku.
“Unfortunately, the man died at around 05h00 on Tuesday morning,” Haufiku added.
“The ministry wishes to convey its heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family and friends,” stated the health minister.

Furthermore, the surveillance team in Keetmanshoop are tracing contacts, and a rapid response team has been dispatched to Keetmanshoop district.
“Officials from the Veterinary Department of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry form part of this team,” Haufiku added.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines one confirmed case of Crimean-Congo Haemorrphagic Fever constitutes an outbreak. A person with Crimean Congo Haemorrhagic Fever can have sudden onset of high fever, headache, back pain, joint pain, abdominal pain and dizziness amongst others.  

Congo Fever is transmitted to people by tick bites or through contact with infected animal blood or tissues during and immediately after slaughter.

The majority of cases have occurred in people involved in the livestock industry, such as agricultural workers, slaughterhouse workers and veterinarians.

Human-to-human transmission can occur resulting from close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected persons.

In February, the Ministry of Health and Social Services confirmed another case of a 23-year old man from Gobabis with the disease. The man reportedly had a history of tick bites.

The first outbreak of Congo Fever was recorded in 1986 in Namibia.  Last year, some cases of the disease were also reported.

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