Lethal virus not spreading in Gujarat, says minister

Thursday, January 20, 2011

GANDHINAGAR - The lethal Crimean Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) is not spreading in Gujarat with all the over 50 samples sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) testing negative and no fresh case coming to light, state Health Minister Jaynarayan Vyas said Thursday.

The minister said that of the four suspected cases of CCHF quarantined, one has tested negative and this has further strengthened their belief that there is no spread of the virus.

“However, we are not letting our guard down and teams are still surveying the environs besides checking is going on in almost all hospitals of the state,” he added. All hospitals have been asked to prepare isolation wards in case the need arises.

According to the Pune-based NIV, patients detected with CCHF should be isolated immediately so that the virus is not transmitted to others.

“The virus that has so far killed three people in Gujarat is a category 4 virus, the most dangerous of all,” NIV director A.C. Mishra told IANS. “CCHF, a viral haemorrhagic fever of the nairovirus group, spreads through the aerosol route. Symptoms include high fever and a drop in platelet count,” he added.

Official sources also described the condition of Ameena Momins husband as stable.

Amina, 30, was admitted to a private hospital in Ahmedabad in the first week of January after she was reported suffering from a mysterious fever. She subsequently died. There was consternation in medical circles when her consulting doctor Gagan Sharma, who had examined her, also passed away Jan 13. Her nurse Asha John died Tuesday.

Amina’s husband Hussain Rehman and brother Hussain Rasool are also suspected to have contracted the same virus.

Meanwhile a team from the National Institute of Communicable Diseases arrived in Ahmedabad Thursday. After preliminary discussions with the state health authorities, the team split into two with one going to Kolat village in Sanand taluka near Ahmedabad where the first case was reported while the second visited the hospitals where the three victims were treated.

The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation has also been collecting tick samples from dogs and cows in Ahmedabad for random sampling since it is these species that are known to transmit the virus.

According to Kachhia Patel, director of the state animal husbandry department, their experts have also visited the village but not a single case of any animal sick and exhibiting symptoms of the fever has been reported so far.

Filed under: Medicine

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