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NIV confirms Congo virus in Gujarat

Pune: The National Institute of Virology (NIV) here has confirmed the positive testing of Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) virus, identified for the first time in India, which has claimed three lives in Gujarat.

The virus at present appeared confined to Gujarat from where NIV had received the samples and the state government had started screening of all suspected cases, Dr A C Mishra, Director, NIV, said Thursday.

Although the virus belongs to high risk category, there was no need for panic as its transmission is slow and can be arrested with isolation of patients in hospital, he said.

"It is important that infections are prevented from spreading by isolating patients in hospitals and proper precautions are taken," Mishra added.

The Congo virus, which surfaced in Ahmedabad killed three persons including a doctor and nurse who treated the first victim–a woman from Kolat village in Sanand taluka of the district.

The CCHF virus is known to be transmitted among animals through ticks. It does not produce disease in animals but kills from 20 to 40 per cent of humans who catch the virus.

Typically, after a one to three day incubation period following a tick bite, flu-like symptoms appear, which may resolve after one week.

In upto 75 per cent of cases, however, signs of haemorrhage appear within 3-5 days of the onset of illness. Patients usually begin to recover after 9-10 days from symptom onset, but there could be mortality in some cases.

A team of specialists from the National Institute of Communicable Diseases has already been deputed to Gujarat.

The CCHF virus has earlier been reported from Africa, the Balkans, the Middle East and Pakistan. There is serological evidence of CCHF infection being present in India in animals which however do not get the disease.

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