11 August 2017

Namibia: Three in Isolation After Congo Fever Death

Photo: The Guardian
Stethoscope (file photo).

Three people, who were in close contact with a man who died of Congo fever on Wednesday, have been admitted to the Windhoek Central Hospital, and are being kept in isolation.

The 63-year-old man, whose name could not be disclosed due to confidentiality issues, was admitted on 7 August after he was transferred from a private hospital where he had been admitted on 4 August.

Acting health permanent secretary Bertha Katjivena confirmed the death, saying the deceased had first complained of a headache, chills, body aches, nausea and vomiting.

She said the man had travelled from the Uukwandongo village in the Okahao district of the Omusati region to Windhoek for an event on 1 August.

"He had a history of a tick bite about a week and a half prior, but travelled to Windhoek for the event," Katjivena said.

She added that the reason why they could not act promptly was that "after he was transferred to the Windhoek Central Hospital, blood samples were sent to South Africa for testing".

Investigations are now underway, also involving the agriculture ministry through its veterinary services.

"The investigation will be done in the district where the deceased came from in the Omusati region. An active case search is ongoing, and the people at the village are being closely monitored. All individuals who came into contact with the deceased are being monitored on a daily basis," Katjivena stated.

This is the third case of the fever reported in Namibia this year.

In February, a Gobabis farmworker (26) also died from Congo fever at the Gobabis District Hospital.

The unidentified man died two days later after being admitted to hospital after he vomited blood. He was treated for fever, diarrhoea and coughing a few days before his hospitalisation after being bitten by a tick.

Following the man's death, a second case of Congo fever was also reported in the Omaheke region, when a 19-year-old male from the Okongoua village was also bitten by a tick. The teenager survived after spending days in isolation.

A person with Crimean Congo haemorrhagic fever can have:

Sudden on-set of high fever, headache, back pain, joint pain, abdominal pain, dizziness (feeling like you are losing your balance and about to fall), neck pain and stiffness, bleeding, bruising, or a rash.

The sick person would have been in contact with a person who has similar symptoms or animals infested with ticks, or would have had a tick bite.

The person may also have nausea, vomiting, a sore throat and mood swings.

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