Eidul Azha is just round the corner and cattle traders pouring sacrificial animals into cattle markets ahead of Eid-UL-Azha. It has thrown up the prospect of Congo virus outbreak in the country. Sacrifice is a religious obligation for all Muslims, but people should also take care of themselves while handling and slaughtering animals.
The Congo virus is a viral disease found in numerous wild and domestic animals, such as big animals, goats and sheep. It is transmitted to humans through contact with infected ticks or animal blood. There are fears of an outbreak of Congo virus during Eidul Azha. It also fear the Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever will be transported along with cattle across the country during Eid-UL Azha as the free movement of sacrificial animals in populated areas can spread the Congo Virus.
So far, only one case of Congo virus has been detected however, it is a dire need to create awareness of the virus among people visiting animal markets, as well as those handling animal leftovers, particularly the hide. And it must be kept in mind that Congo fever could become a grave concern if preventive measures are not taken, the administration must try to vaccinate cattle and use an antiseptic spray preceding the slaughter of cattle. The timely awareness is needed as traders, buyers, butchers and others coming into close contact with sacrificial animals and precautionary measures must be taken.
It is appreciated that The Karachi Metropolitan Corporation’s Medical and Health Services Department and KP livestock department have issued a health advisory for prevention of the disease ahead of the Eid season. According to advisory there is a serious need for proper medical check and inspection of animals before they are brought to the cattle markets.
Meanwhile, for the long term awareness, the livestock department must conduct seminars, walks, media campaigns and hang banners in various areas before the Eid ul Azha. However, for the result oriented measures there is a need to control the migratory activities of people and animals from areas endemic with CCHF and to establish a registry and tracking system to monitor the movement of livestock across country and within the different provinces of Pakistan also the relevant authorities should do the needful at the earliest to save precious human lives. Government must refocus their energies and provide sufficient finances in-order to vaccinate sacrificial animals in the markets.
A comprehensive awareness campaign must be initiated regarding Congo virus and sacrificial animals.