MoHSS urges public to take precautions to prevent Congo fever

15 May 2019 17:20pm
WINDHOEK, 15 MAY (NAMPA) – The Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) has urged the public to take necessary precautions when handling livestock to prevent the spread of the Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) in the country.
The call follows the current outbreak of the Congo virus after six people were admitted with symptoms related to the virus, causing one death in the northern part of Namibia.
Speaking at a joint press conference by the MoHSS and the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) here on Wednesday, Health Minister Kalumbi Shangula said prevention is the key aspect with the current outbreak and people should apply preventative measures at all times when handling livestock.
“Control measures should not only be expected from the two ministries. Everyone is at risk of getting the virus therefore it is important for individuals to prevent and those with symptoms should visit the health facilities as early as possible,” he said.
The virus can be treated and cured if it is reported and detected early, he noted.
Preventative measures include, applying tick control for livestock by using pesticides regularly during summer, wearing protective clothing when handling animals, tucking trousers into socks and wearing light coloured clothing to easily see ticks on clothes.
Shangula also said that the MAWF is currently giving farmers education on tick control and sensitising them to apply tick remedies to livestock (cattle, sheep, goats and donkeys) in the area where the confirmed case came from.
CCHF can be transferred through tick bites, handling ticks with bare hands and direct contact with infected animal blood and organs while slaughtering infected meat.
It can further be transferred through direct contact with body fluids of a person who is infected with the virus, direct contact with the body of a person who has died of CCHF and handling of contaminated linen, bedding and clothes of a person with CCHF without protection.
He noted that of the six people admitted and whose blood samples were sent to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases Regional Reference Laboratory in South Africa at different intervals, one patient tested positive for CCHF, three were negative while the results for the two are pending.