ONLY one out of the six suspected cases that were reported in the Oshikoto region tested positive for Congo Fever.
This is according to Ministry of Health and Social Service Minister, Dr. Kalumbi Shangula.
Kalumbi said that at the moment, three tests came back negative and two of the tests are pending, awaiting results from the National Institute Communicable Disease Laboratory in South Africa.
“The only confirmed case was that of a 54-year-old female who was taken to the Onandjokwe hospital with complaints of tick-bite. She recovered well and was discharged home on the 11 May. All persons who were in direct contact with the patient are under strict daily monitoring,” said the minister.
Medically known as Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever, the virus is 70% primarily transmitted through tick bites.
Namibia has previously dealt with cases of Congo fever and have become more frequent in the last three years.
He warned cattle herders, animal health workers and public health workers to be alert as they are more prone to being infected.
“The virus is transmitted to people through infected ticks, tick bites or handling ticks with bare hands. People can also get infected through direct contact with infected animal blood and organs during slaughtering or handling infected meat,” he said.
He, however, noted that workers that deal with livestock should not stop doing their duties.
“I do not want to evoke fear in the people dealing with livestock,” he said.
Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry’s Chief Veterinary Office, Dr. Albertina Shilongo noted that the disease is very severe in human and insignificant in livestock.
“The virus only stays two weeks in animals but the animal plays a role in the cycle of the tick. So it’s very important for us to spread the message and inform the farmers,” she said.