OMUTHIYA - Animal technicians from various veterinary offices in Oshikoto Region were hard at work for the past three days, treating animals over suspected presence of a Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF), simply known as Congo Fever, in the area.
Villagers of Onethika A and B in the Olukonda Constituency were flocking to the animal checkpoint points set up by ministry of agriculture officials to get their animals treated due to the disease outbreak and in an effort to combat it.
A case of a suspected Congo Fever was firstly reported at Onethika village in Oshikoto. It was against this background that the Ministry of Agriculture Water and Forestry through its Veterinary Department, availed a Decaspot 0.5 percent pour-on medicine to treat animals as a measure to reduce the further spread and protect against loss of lives of both humans and animals.
This medicine is poured on the back of the animal and it will later penetrate through the fur into the body, causing the ticks to fall off.
The treated animals were goats, sheep and cattle that are the predominant livestock in the area.
Community members applauded the ministry and welcomed the gesture because they felt the animals were already suffering as a result of drought and now the disease.
“I am thankful to the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry to have come forth in assisting us because we have a lot of ticks in our community. The ministry has done a great job and in case the ticks are in excess, we can also meet it halfway to go and buy the medicine ourselves,” said Petrus Shikongo.
However, due to the nature of grazing and with the experience of persistent drought, some villagers have moved their animals from Onethika and the surrounding villages to Uulunga wa Kolondo for better grazing and therefore cannot be reached for treatment. Moreover, other domestic animals such as dogs and pigs also carry ticks and the communities were for this reason advised to visit the nearest pharmacies where they can buy the medicine to treat these animals when necessary.
Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) is an acute, tick-borne zoonotic infectious disease often associated with hemorrhagic presentations and case fatality rate of up to 40 percent. The disease was first characterized in the Crimea in 1944 and given the name Crimean Hemorrhagic Fever. It was then later recognized in 1969 as the cause of illness in the Congo, thus resulting in the current name of the disease. There is no treatment for this illness yet, however, protective measures are advisable. Its signs and symptoms include fever, myalgia, dizziness, neck pain and stiffness, backache and headache, sore eyes and photophobia, sharp mood swings, confusion, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain and sore throat.
*Josephina Mwashindange is an information officer in the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology’s Oshikoto regional office.