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Crimean Congo fever reported in Kyangwali refugee settlement area

Kyangwali refugee settlement area. File photo

Kikuube, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Health officials in Kikuube district have confirmed an outbreak of the Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever in the district.

The virus, caused by a tick-borne virus is primarily transmitted to people from ticks and livestock animals, while human-to-human transmission occurs from close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected persons. It has a case fatality rate of up to 40 percent.

Dr Nicholas Kwikiriza, the Kikuube District Health officer-DHO confirmed the outbreak of the disease in an interview with Uganda Radio Network on Friday afternoon. This came after a 16-year old girl, a refugee and resident of Musiinsa A village in the Kyangwali refugee settlement area tested positive for the disease on April 28, 2021.

He says on April 27, 2021, the victim was rushed to Kagoma health center II within the settlement area with a high fever and a temperature of 38.1°c. She also had a severe headache, fatigue, abdominal pain, joint pain, vomiting blood and bleeding from the nose.

Kwikiriza says her blood samples were immediately drawn and taken to Uganda Virus Research Institute in Entebbe and on April 28, 2021, she tested positive for Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever. The victim has been transferred from Kagoma health center II to Kasonga Ebola Treatment Unit where she is currently undergoing treatment.

According to Kwikiriza, 12 people who are her close relatives and are said to have come into close contact with the victim have also been picked up and isolated at the same health facility, while awaiting the results of the blood samples drawn from them. He adds that currently, they have intensified their surveillance network within the settlement area as they continue to trace for more contacts.

Uganda has had multiple Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever outbreaks since 2013 when the first outbreak was confirmed in the country. Tick exposure has been identified as the major risk factor according to studies done during various outbreaks in Uganda.

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