Experts warn of Congo virus risk at cattle markets

ISLAMABAD    -  Health expert on Monday said that people are flocking to cattle markets in the spirit of the upcoming unique festival of Eid-ul-Azha where citizens are asked to adopt all preventive measures while visiting cattle markets to keep themselves safe from the Congo virus. Talking to a private news channel, Infection disease expert Dr. Kiran Habib said that every year on the occasion of Eid-ul-Azha, a large number of sacrificial animals are brought to cities for sale for which special places have been set up, however, health authorities were on alert to prevent any outbreak of diseases associated with these heads of cattle. She explained that the Crimean–Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) is a viral disease, which is typically spread by tick bites or close contact with the blood, secretions, organs, or other bodily fluids of infected persons or animals. “The virus spreads from these infected animals to other healthy animals,” she said, adding, “people infected with Congo virus have constant fever, vomiting, dizziness.” While visiting the cattle market citizens should wear light-color clothes, full-sleeve clothes, gloves, and face masks, she recommended. Certain ticks might not be visible if caught on dark-color clothes, she said, adding, that when inspecting sacrificial animals, avoid eating and drinking at the cattle market and keep clean boiled drinking water with you. She also demanded that the government should set up veterinary camps in every sacrificial market to examine the animals and educate the buyers. Replying to a question, she added that most people were not aware of the hazard of being bitten by ticks, adding, these ticks are found in the scalp and between the toes of Congo fever patients. The virus is spread via a tick found on the skin of animals, she mentioned. “The large-scale screening of the animals and their premises (sheds) should be done to check the livestock for ticks,” she highlighted. Health experts further suggest that a person must visit the nearest hospital immediately after developing any signs and symptoms of the infection.

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