Congo fever claims Omaheke man’s life

Keetmanshoop State Hospital

A male patient who was referred from a health facility at Gobabis to a Windhoek hospital last week has died of Congo fever in an isolation unit at Windhoek Central Hospital.

Ministry of Health and Social Services executive director Ben Nangombe announced the patient’s death in a media statement on Tuesday.

Nangombe stated that the patient was treated at a private health facility at Gobabis on Tuesday last week and referred to Lady Pohamba Private Hospital in Windhoek the next day.

On Thursday, he was admitted to an isolation unit at Windhoek Central Hospital, where he died the same day.

Laboratory results on Sunday confirmed that the patient had died of Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever, Nangombe stated.

More commonly known as Congo fever, Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever is highly contagious, often fatal and is spread through contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person.

Humans are infected with Congo fever through tick bites or the handling of ticks with bare hands, contact with infected persons or contact with infected livestock, Nangombe stated.

Namibia has over the past seven years recorded Congo fever infections in six people, of whom three died, Nangombe also said.
He added that 27 people have been identified as having been in contact with the patient who died last week.

This includes 24 health workers, one co-worker of the patient and two household contacts.

The symptoms of Congo fever include headache, high fever, back, joint and stomach pain, vomiting and, as the illness progresses, large areas of severe bruising, nosebleeds and uncontrolled bleeding of injection sites, beginning around the fourth day of the illness, Nangombe noted.

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