Congo fever outbreak kills one in Namibia

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A man in Namibia has died of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, prompting the country to declare an outbreak of the viral tick-borne disease, the government said on Wednesday.

Also known as Congo fever, the disease has a high fatality rate of up to 40 percent, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

“One case is considered an outbreak,” the health ministry’s executive director, Ben Nangombe, told AFP. “The disease is tick-borne, so it can be considered localized.”

The infected man was taken to a clinic in the eastern city of Gobabis last week with symptoms of the disease, which include fever, muscle ache, dizziness, sensitivity to light and nausea.

He was later placed in isolation at a hospital in the capital, Windhoek, where he died.

Laboratory tests on Sunday confirmed it was a case of Congo fever, the ministry said in a statement on Tuesday, adding that 27 contacts, including 24 health workers, had so far been identified.

Endemic in parts of Africa, the Balkans, the Middle East and Asia, the virus is primarily transmitted to people from ticks and livestock animals, via contact with blood or tissues during or after slaughter, according to the WHO.

Namibia had previously reported six cases and three deaths since 2016. Its previous outbreak was in 2020.

© 2023 AFP

Congo fever outbreak kills one in Namibia (2023, May 24)
retrieved 24 May 2023

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