Only one case linked to Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) has been confirmed by the Ministry of Health and Social Services. Three other cases suspected to be of the fever tested negative while two other cases' results are still pending.
This information was shared at a joint press conference between the ministries of Health and Social Services and Agriculture, Water and Forestry on the update of the CCHF outbreak in Namibia.
According to health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula, a 54-year-old woman from Onethika village, in Ontananga in Olukonda constituency whose blood tested positive has recovered well and she was discharged from hospital last week on Saturday.
Shangula said all persons who were in direct contact with the patient are under strict daily monitoring.
In another case, a 77-year-old man from Onethika village in Olukonda constituency, with a history of tick bite and clinical manifestation of high fever, vomiting blood and confusion, who was admitted to Onandjokwe district, passed away shortly after admission.
Shangula said the widow informed health care workers at Onandjokwe hospital that the tick bite which the patient reported before passing on was not this year, however, she could not tell when this incident had exactly happened.
Shangula said a blood specimen was taken and sent for testing to confirm whether the patient was infected. The test results came out negative on May 13.
He said given the symptoms manifested by the deceased, a safe burial was conducted. He explained a safe burial is a burial conducted under strict conditions to minimise the risk of exposure.
Shangula further said the test results of a 27-year-old man who was admitted at Onandjokwe hospital on May 8 and who had contact with the deceased are still pending. The patient is doing well and was discharged on May 11. Similarly, the results for a 57-year-old woman who was admitted at Engela hospital are still pending.
Two other patients' results tested negative. These include a 50-year-old man admitted at Outapi hospital with tick bite. His condition is stable. Another patient is a 40-year-old who had tick bite in Okaku village in Oshana Region, two days before he came to Windhoek.
Shangula said the man was admitted on May 10 at Windhoek central hospital and his condition is stable with no more fever. He added that preliminary results received on May 13 tested negative.
Furthermore, the minister explained the virus is primarily transmitted to people from infected ticks, through tick bites or handling ticks with bare hands. He said people can also get infected through direct contact with infected animal blood and organs during slaughtering or handling infected meat.
People can also get infected through direct contact with a body of person who died of CCHF or handling of contaminated linen, bedding and clothes of an infected case without adequate personal protection.
People at risk are animal herders, livestock handlers while slaughterhouse workers are at particular risk of tick bites.