Contingency plan designed to deal with rising Congo fever cases


ISLAMABAD: In the wake of recent surge in Crimean Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) cases, a contingency plan has been designed for prevention and control of the disease, especially during Eid-ul-Azha because of exposure to tick infected animals and their massive movement.

An important meeting was held comprising representatives of the National Institute of Health (NIH) with Ministry of Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) here on Tuesday, aimed at developing a strategy to curtail the fever.

During the meeting, it was informed that most cases of the CCHF are reported between March to May and August to October and there is an increased risk of CCHF virus transmission during Eid-ul-Azha.

The CCHF, generally known as Congo Fever, is a zoonotic disease with established Vector-born transmission.

During the meeting, Dr. Mukhtar Ahmad, the Executive Director of NIH, remarked that without an effective surveillance system and community participation, public health system could not work efficiently.

“There is a need to establish an effective Inter-sectoral coordination mechanism among relevant stakeholders, especially public health, animal health and environment adopting One-Health approach,” he added.

He said that the Islamabad NIH has been extensively supporting the provinces to enhance the diagnostic capacities of diseases of public health importance in addition to free testing of CCHF; he added that efforts are being made to establish a real time Integrated disease surveillance and response system in collaboration with the technical partners.

The disease has a much debilitating effect; if left unattended it could culminate into outbreak of dangerous epidemics.

During the meeting the CCHF situation in Pakistan from 1976 to 2017 was reviewed and the representatives from federal and provincial human health and livestock departments discussed the situation and gave recommendations.

After detailed discussions, the participants developed a comprehensive strategy of CCHF in which they designed a contingency plan for prevention and control of the disease and also identified the roles and responsibilities of the concern authorities.