With at least 16 people succumbing to the tick-transferred Congo virus disease, no proper mechanism has as yet been adopted by the authorities for the manning of livestock cattle markets that have been set up for Eid-ul-Azha. With people swarming these stalls without proper precautions in search for the perfect sacrificial animal, there is bound to be an increase in the casualty numbers. Although an inactivated, mouse brain-derived vaccine against Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) has been developed and used on a small scale in eastern Europe, there is currently no safe and effective vaccine widely available for human use. In the absence of a vaccine, the only way to reduce infection in people is by raising awareness of the risk factors and educating people about the measures they can take to reduce exposure to the virus. Taking up the following measures will help safeguard you from CCHF virus. Dos and Don’ts for reducing the risk of tick-to-human transmission:
- wear protective clothing (long sleeves, long trousers)
- wear light coloured clothing to allow easy detection of ticks on the clothes
- use approved acaricides (chemicals intended to kill ticks) on clothing
- use approved repellent on the skin and clothing
- regularly examine clothing and skin for ticks; if found, remove them safely
- seek to eliminate or control tick infestations on animals or in stables and barns
- avoid areas where ticks are abundant and seasons when they are most active.
Dos and Don’ts for reducing the risk of animal-to-human transmission:
- wear gloves and other protective clothing while handling animals or their tissues in endemic areas, notably during slaughtering, butchering and culling procedures in slaughterhouses or at home
- quarantine animals before they enter slaughterhouses or routinely treat animals with pesticides two weeks prior to slaughter.
Dos Don’ts for reducing the risk of human-to-human transmission in the community:
- avoid close physical contact with CCHF-infected people
- wear gloves and protective equipment when taking care of ill people
- wash hands regularly after caring for or visiting ill people.