Tuesday, January 18, 2011

3 Die of Viral Hemorrhagic Fever in India

On December 29, 2010, a 30 year-old woman in India was admitted to the Shalby Hospital with a high fever, abdominal pain, and vomiting. While at the hospital her blood count and platelet counts dropped precipitously and she passed away in the first week of January due to severe internal hemorrhaging and systemic organ failure. The woman did not test positive for Dengue fever. Alarmingly, several other people who had been in close contact with her, including her husband and a doctor and nurse who were treating her, began to experience the same set of symptoms. The doctor passed away on January 13th and the nurse passed away on January 18th. The husband is currently another hospital in the city (Sterling Hospital). In addition, the brother of the index case was admitted to a third hospital, New Civil Hospital in Asarva, on January 16th, nearly two weeks following the death of the initial patient, with similar symptoms.

As soon as transmission was suspected, the hospital called in the National Institute of Virology (NIV). So far NIV has tested 50 samples from the area and is screening an area the is home to close to 16,000 citizens. The NIV is certain that this is a viral hemorrhagic fever and say it is likely Congo-Crimean Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF). If confirmed, this would be the first case of CCHF in India. CCHF is usually transmitted via ticks, but can also be transmitted by contact with the blood or bodily fluids of infected animals or humans. Hospital transmission has been noted in other areas of the world previously due to improper sanitation of instruments. Officials are worried that the disease may become a serious outbreak and that there may be other individuals infected with the disease who have not been discovered yet.

Tim Wolfe


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