Health officials urged to act against Congo-virus

* Contaminated animal blood could cause Congo fever

KARACHI: Karachi Administrator Rauf Akhtar Farooqui on Wednesday directed health officials to immediately start taking precautionary measures for saving the citizens from Congo-virus fever owing to the arrival of sacrificial animals in the city. 
Complaints of Congo-virus fever were received last year; therefore it was the duty of the local bodies to take all possible measures for protecting the citizens from viral diseases. The responsibility for animal health lies with the officer issuing the health certificates for the animals.
He expressed these views while addressing a meeting held in the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) building which was attended by medical and health services senior director, veterinary senior director, livestock deputy director, provincial health department representative, Malir District administrator, municipal commissioners, health officers of different districts, assistant commissioners and other officers.
The administrator said that all possible facilities would be provided to the cattle markets under the directives of the Sindh government while keeping full information about the health of the animals to avert any chances of spreading any kinds of disease.
He said, “All necessary steps would be taken for removing any hurdles and troubles being faced by the veterinary doctors, technical staff and other such persons in the biggest market of sacrificial animals at Sohrab Goth.” He said, “Work on the prevention of various diseases and improvement in the delivery of health care facilities started effectively. The provincial government had also issued clear directives in this connection with stress on bringing improvement in the health care facilities for people.”
Earlier, the meeting was informed that presently 16 veterinary hospitals were operating in the city where animals were medically examined. Whereas more than 130,000 sacrificial animals were brought to the city before Eidul Azha. This was further informed that the Congo-virus had originated in Africa and now due to its presence in the animals of the rural, especially the northern areas of Pakistan, could transmit it in the city with the animals that were brought from there.
Meanwhile, Commissioner Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui has said that the citizens should use gloves while slaughtering sacrificial animals as a precautionary and preventive measure because experts have said that the blood containing the parasite worm in the affected animal could cause Congo fever, which was a deadly disease. However, there was no harm in eating meat. The worm resides in the animal’s ears or hair and since the animals from northern areas are more hairy that is why they are infested with the worms. “Bite of the worm could lead a human to Congo fever,” Siddiqui said this while addressing a meeting regarding prevention and cure from Congo-virus, Naegleria and dengue at his office. 
Karachi Metropolitan Corporation Municipal Services senior Director Masood Alam, Sindh Commissioner Office Director Robina Asif, KMC Health and Medical Services Senior Director Dr Salma Kausar, focal person and representative regarding dengue, Naegleria and Congo Dr Shakil Malik, KMC Municipal Services Director Noman Arshad and other relevant officers were also present on the occasion.
The commissioner directed all relevant officers to display banners at prominent spots in the city, inside and outside of cattle markets to spread awareness among the masses regarding Congo-virus. 

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