The Iraqi Ministry of Health has raised the level of health alert after verifying 90 cases and 18 deaths from hemorrhagic feverwhich has already spread to all provinces of the country since the appearance of the first case in November last year.
The so-called Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever has become a scourge for cattle farmers in the country. The virus, which has a mortality rate of 40%, spreads especially through cattle to the point that butchers are also at particular risk of infection.
The disease is raging with the population of the province of Dhi Qar, in the south of the country, where 42 people have already been infected despite the tightening of controls imposed by the Iraqi government a few weeks after the declaration of the outbreak.
“It is possible that the numbers will increase because there are other suspected cases,” warned the spokesman for the Iraqi Ministry of Health, Saif al Badr, in a statement collected by the Iraqi News portal and the Iraqi chain Al Ahad.
“We have not reached the stage of the epidemic, but the contamination is higher than the previous year,” Badr told AFP. “The procedures adopted by the different competent authorities are not up to the task, especially in regard to unregulated slaughter,” he acknowledged.
The authorities persecute slaughterhouses that do not respect hygiene protocols. Several provinces prohibited the entry and exit of livestock from the area and launched disinfection campaigns among the animals.
According to the Iraqi Ministry of Health, the people most affected by hemorrhagic fever are cattle farmers and slaughterhouse employees.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the transmission of this hemorrhagic fever (FHV) to humans occurs “by tick bites or by contact with blood or tissues of infected animals, during or immediately after slaughter”.
From the time of the infected tick bite to the onset of symptoms, usually three to thirteen days pass.
Symptoms start suddenly. The sick person usually has high fever, headache, malaise, joint and muscle pain, sweating, gastrointestinal and/or respiratory symptoms, hypotension, relative bradycardia, tachypnea, conjunctivitis, pharyngitis, and redness or skin rash.
There may be liver, kidney, or lung involvement. Patients who recover begin to improve on the ninth or tenth day after the onset of the disease.
FHVs are a group of diseases caused by different viruses, including the Ebola virus, which affects multiple organ systems in the body.
Viral hemorrhagic fever refers to a condition that affects the body’s organ systems, damaging the overall cardiovascular system and reducing the body’s ability to function on its own.
(with information from EP and AFP)
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