Amid the coronavirus pandemic, authorities in Palghar have issued an alert for the deadly Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF), or Congo fever, believed to spread from animals to humans, top officials said here on Tuesday.

The collectorate has directed all meat and poultry sellers and consumers to remain on alert and take precautions as the Congo fever has a high mortality rate between 10-40 per cent even as no vaccine is available for treatment.

[Representational image]Creative Commons

Alert issued in Palghar over Congo Fever

"We have asked all meat sellers to take necessary measures for hygiene and cleanliness, spray of insecticides, use of gloves, gumboots, masks, and proper checks on all animals brought into Maharashtra via the Gujarat borders in consultation with the departments concerned," Collector Dr Manek Gursale told IANS.

District Civil Surgeon Kanchan Vanare said that though there were no Congo fever cases yet in Palghar, precautions have been listed after infectees of this disease were found in neighbouring Gujarat, which borders Talasari taluka in the district.

"Though much is not known about the disease, it is believed to spread through Hyalomma tick, a parasite which thrives on the blood or flesh of infected animals, fowls, or other birds. Anybody consuming infected meat may experience symptoms of high fever, head and body aches, nose-bleeding, stomach pains, red eyes etc," Vanare explained.

Animal Husbandry Department Deputy Commissioner Dr PD Kamble cautioned in a circular that since CCHF cases were found in some districts of south Gujarat bordering Maharashtra, it was likely to spread to this state.

"If it is not diagnosed and treated in time, nearly one third of the patients succumb. As per the World Health Organisation, it has a fatality rate of 10-40 per cent, with no vaccines available for either humans or animals," read the circular.