CONGO VIRUS…

This was supposed to be about Ebola virus but it was too much complex to write about. All of it went over my head.

Congo Virus or Viral hemorrhagic fevers (VHFs) refer to a group of illnesses that are caused by several distinct families of viruses. In general, the term “viral hemorrhagic fever” is used to describe a severe multisystem syndrome (multisystem in that multiple organ systems in the body are affected). Characteristically, the overall vascular system is damaged, and the body’s ability to regulate itself is impaired.

HOW IS IT SPREAD?

Congo virus is caused by a virus belonging to a group called Nairovirus. The virus infects wild as well as domestic animals like sheep and cattle through tick bites. Humans are infected when they come in direct contact with blood or tissues from infected animals or bites of infected ticks. Crushing of infected tick could also result in infection. Infection may rarely occur if people breathe in the virus passed out in the infected animal’s excreta. Thus, people who work in close contact with livestock such as those working in agriculture, slaughterhouses and veterinary hospitals are at a higher risk of acquiring the disease.

Once a human is affected, the infection spreads to other people if they come in contact with the patient’s infected blood or body fluids. Infection could also spread in hospitals during injections and surgical procedures. Hospital staff that treat patients with CV are at a higher risk for developing the infection.

A person cannot be infected by eating well-cooked infected meat since the virus does not survive cooking.

SYMPTOMS OF CONGO VIRUS…

Congo hemorrhagic fever causes a flu-like illness that starts within one week of the tick bite. The initial symptoms are mild, but may become severe very quickly.

The most common initial symptoms of Congo hemorrhagic fever include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Back pain
  • Body aches
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Severe headache
  • Joint pain (multiple joints)
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Anorexia  i.e an eating disorder or more importantly a psychological disorder.
  • Fatigue
  • Malaise
  • Red eyes
  • Flushing
  • Red throat

After 3-5 days, signs and symptoms of hemorrhage may occur, including:

  • Rash:Blood in the stool
    • Skin lesions that look like bruises or broken blood vessels in the skin
    • Skin lesions may be on the palate
  • Blood in urine
  • Black stool
  • Nosebleed
  • Abdominal swelling:
    • Liver enlargement
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