Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) has killed a 64-year-old man on Wednesday, the Ministry of Health and Social Services announced earlier today. The fatality occurred at the Windhoek Central Hospital after the man was transferred from a private hospital in Windhoek. Three of his relatives, including his daughter, are admitted in the hospital’s isolation unit for close monitoring. People mainly contract the CCHF virus from infected ticks or contact with infected animal blood and tissue. Health minister Dr. Bernard Haufiku told The Patriot earlier today said the deceased was bitten by a tick.
The patient, name withheld, travelled from Uukwandongo village in Okahao District, Omusati Region to Windhoek, Khomas Region for an event last week. Blood tests were sent to South Africa for testing and the results came out positive, said Haufiku. The Ministry’s officials in conjunction with other line Ministries such as the Ministry of Agriculture, Veterinary Services are busy conducting investigations in the Omusati Region at the district where the deceased came from. According to the Ministry: “An active case search is ongoing and the people at village are closely monitored. All persons who came in contact with the deceased are being monitored on a daily basis.
Haufiku conveyed his condolences to the family of the deceased and indicated that the body will not be buried in a conventional manner. “We understand their pain but I plead that the family bare with us during this process,” said Haufiku. A ministerial official, Dr. Zeko explained that under the circumstances, the body of the deceased will be buried about 50 metre from the closest grave and the grave is dug much deeper than normal. The body will be buried tomorrow. This is the second case of Congo fever recorded this year after a Gobabis farmworker aged 26 died in February at the Gobabis District Hospital of Congo Fever. According to the World Health Organization, CCHF’s mortality rate is about 30 percent and is endemic to Africa, the Balkans and Ukraine, the Middle East and Central Asia.