Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) is a deadly and dangerous viral infection communicated to human beings from animals. This disease can be spreaded by the bite of infected tick; contact with blood and body secretions of infected animals; and, from infected human to humans. It is an occupational hazardous disease. The livestock farmers, abattoir workers, butchers, veterinary and para-veterinary staff are at high risk of acquiring disease.
The CCHF has no symptoms in animal; only a transient fever could be an indication and this is overlooked most of the times. This disease could not be diagnosed in animals and only presence of tick could be its indication.
The precautionary measures for the CCHF are as follows:
- Keep away from the animals having ticks. Only select tick free animals for sacrificial purposes. Anti-tick sprays are applied on animals before entering the livestock market.
- Do not handle or try to pick ticks from animals, bare handed.
- The offal and leftover of animals should be disposed-off properly, like burying and handing over the offal to municipal corporation staff.
- Always use full sleeve and bright color shirts, when going to animal markets and no body part should be exposed. The ticks could be easily seen on bright color cloths.
- The tick repellant should be used before visiting animal markets.
- Do not approach the animal without any purpose; only domestic animals free of ticks may be preferred for sacrificial purposes.
- Do not handle meat bare handed.
- Keep children away from animals.
- Only professional butchers may be hired for slaughtering animals.
- Area where the animal was slaughtered should be washed thoroughly using disinfectants.
- In case of appearance of symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, pain in muscles and abdomen, immediately consult physician.
What PARC is doing?
The CCHF is widespread, tick-borne viral disease affecting humans. The disease is endemic in many regions, such as Africa, Asia, Eastern and Southern Europe and Central Asia. There is no specific treatment or vaccine against CCHF and it is considered an emerging zoonotic disease in many countries. Recently, the incidence of CCHF has increased rapidly in the countries of the World Health Organization-Eastern Mediterranean Region (WHO-EMR), with sporadic human cases and outbreaks of CCHF being reported from a number of countries in the region. Pakistan is ranked as number 4 in the overall CCHF cases in WHO-EMR.
The Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) is the apex agricultural research organization of the country. The PARC is undertaking steps in order to control this lethal disease through research and development. Following are most important:
- The PARC created awareness among the general public and technocrats, through series of seminars conducted under mobile veterinary clinic in ICT region.
- The scientists of PARC have been engaged in the development of WHO-CCHF research and development road map for preventing epidemics.
- The PARC is having research collaboration with WHO Collaborating Centre for Virus Reference and Research, Public Health England and Department of Infectious Diseases Tokyo, Japan for the development of diagnostics.
- The PARC has recently granted a research project on the development of diagnostic assays for CCHF.
- The scientists from PARC scientists are actively engaged and assisted in the preparation of CCHF contingency plan for the Pakistan in consultation with National Institute of Health, Islamabad.
Prepared by: Animal Sciences Institute, NARC
Published by: Directorate of Public Relations & Protocol, PARC