Namibia: 4 Suspected Congo Fever Cases

FOUR more people from different parts of the country are suspected to have Crimean Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF), with their results still pending.

National surveillance officer on the spread of diseases in the ministry of health, Selma Robert, today said four people displayed the symptoms of Congo fever, while an elderly man died on Tuesday, although the cause of death has not yet been determined.

Robert said the cases are still not confirmed as the ministry is waiting for the results, but the people are all in a stable condition. She said the results of the elderly man will be released today or tomorrow.

The four reported cases were from the Oshikoto and Ohangwena regions, one from Outapi, and one person in Windhoek, who recently came back from a holiday in the north.

Robert noted that the 77-year-old man who died on Tuesday was the neighbour of the 54-year-old woman from Onethika village in the Oshikoto region who was admitted to the Onandjokwe Hospital after she was diagnosed with the virus.

She said the elderly man was not in contact with the woman, but had a history of tick bite.

"The confirmed case (person) is doing well, and she was discharged yesterday [Saturday]," she said, adding that counselling was given to her family to help her integrate again and avoid any stigma.

According to Robert, Congo fever is not only limited to the northern regions, and there were several outbreaks reported such as at Gobabis last year, Keetmans-hoop, and the Omusati region in previous years.

"Congo fever is seasonal. However, it might be aggravated because of the severe drought we are in because human to animal contact will be increased," she observed.

The ministry is involving social workers to assist in the community where the case was reported to avoid any fear, while the health workers, who are assisting, are being taken care of as the virus is contagious.

"We are also doubling on public awareness, and giving out information," she added.

The CCHF virus is transmitted to people either by tick bites or through contact with an infected animal's blood or tissue during and immediately after slaughter.

Symptoms of Congo fever include fever, muscle pain, headache, abdominal pain, confusion, bleeding, nausea and vomitting.

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