Everything you need to know about the Congo virus

Photo: Reuters

Punjab’s health and livestock departments want to prevent the Congo virus from spreading this Eid. In fact, they are taking preventative measures and educating people about the virus.

What is the Congo virus?

Congo virus is a disease spread by ticks. It causes haemorrhagic fevers and has a fatality rate of between 10% and 40%, according to the World Health Organisation.

Signs that you have Congo virus are fever, muscle aches, dizziness, neck pain and stiffness, backaches, sore eyes and sensitivity to light. It is also possible to feel nausea, throw up, experience diarrhea, abdominal pain and a sore throat.

How is it spread?

Well, the virus is spread by ticks on animals. The ticks bite humans and the disease is then spread. It can be transmitted from person to person through contact with blood, saliva, urine or any other bodily fluids.

Since Eid is around the corner, people have set up cattle markets and even kept cattle at their homes.

What should we be doing?

According to the WHO, there is no vaccine available for humans or animals to prevent the Congo virus but you can always take measures to isolate cases so that the virus doesn’t spread.

People should regularly be inspecting their livestock for ticks and having ticks removed right away.

The health body says that “general supportive care with treatment of symptoms” is the main approach to managing the virus.

Dr Munir Ahmed, the director general of health in Punjab, told SAMAA TV that people need to take preventative measures. He explained that signs of the disease include colds and coughs and dry patches on the body.

He also reminded people that the virus can be spread from bodily fluids other than urine and fluids from the mouth and nose.

The health department has set up camps at cattle markets in collaboration with the livestock department to monitor cases of infected livestock. If some cattle have been infected, the best thing to do is separate them from other animals so the ticks don’t spread.

Steps are also being taken at public hospitals to facilitate the care of patients with the Congo virus.