In the Gungu region, in the southwest of the Democratic Republic of Congo , panic has begun to spread. At least 165 children have died in the last two months from an unknown disease, which mainly affects those under the age of five; the first cases appeared at the end of August.
According to local authorities, the victims also show signs of malaria, “but pThey may suffer from another disease that we do not know, but that causes anemia, “said the doctor Jean-Pierre Basake. The mayor of the rural commune of Mukedi, Alain Nzamba, registers an average of four deaths a day in his jurisdiction, which includes the towns of Lozo Munene and Kinzamba due to this mysterious suffering.
Meanwhile, federal authorities sent a specialized team to the area to investigate and try to determine what causes the disease, as well as to establish a fence and prevent a larger outbreak. In case it is malaria cases, the vaccine against this disease in children it began to be applied at the beginning of October to the little ones of the region.
Could it be the Crimean Congo fever?
Some local doctors think that it could be the Crimean Congo fever virus, which is transmitted to people by tick bites or by contact with blood or tissues of infected animals such as cattle, goats, sheep and hares, which serve as hosts virus amplifiers.
The length of the incubation period depends on the mode of infection of the virus. After a tick bite, the incubation phase is generally one to three days, with a maximum of nine days. The incubation period after contact with infected blood or tissues is normally five to six days, with a documented maximum of 13 days.
The symptoms start suddenly, in form of:
- Myalgia (muscle pain)
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Nausea, vomiting
- Diarrhea, abdominal pain, and sore throat
- Soft spot
The mortality rate associated is approximately 30%, and death ensues during the second week. Among patients who recover, improvement usually begins on the ninth or tenth day after the onset of the disease.
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