Uganda confirms case of Crimean-Congo fever near DRC border

Thursday November 1 2018

A section of Fort Portal Town, Uganda.

A section of Fort Portal Town, Uganda. Health authorities in the country have confirmed a case of Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever in the area. PHOTO | FELIX BASIIME | NMG 

By CHARLES M. MPAGI
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Uganda confirmed Tuesday a case of Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) near its western border with the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Health officials said samples taken from a patient at the Fort Portal Regional Referral Hospital in Kabarole District — about 10 km from the DRC border — tested positive for the fever.

The patient, a woman, was placed in isolation at the facility.

Dr Richard Mugahi, the Kabarole District director of health services, said a search for all individuals suspected to have been in contact with the patient was ongoing.

Teams from the ministry of health, agriculture and livestock have been sent to the area to contain the outbreak.

The disease is caused by a tick-borne virus (Nairovirus) of the Bunyaviridae family, according to World Health Organisation (WHO).

The virus is transmitted to people from ticks and livestock.

Human-to-human transmission occurs from close contact with blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected persons.

The virus can cause severe viral haemorrhagic fever outbreaks.

It has a no vaccine or cure and has an average fatality rate of around 30 percent, according to the WHO.

The UN health agency recommends similar guidelines for infection control as those of other haemorrhagic fevers - Ebola and Marburg.

CCHF is endemic in Africa, the Balkans, the Middle East and Asian countries.

It was discovered in Crimea in 1944 and recognised in 1969 as having caused illness in the Congo in 1956.