Afghanistan: Two die from Congo fever in Balkh province

Abu Ali Sina Hospital in Balkh, July 2022.

Two people were reported to have died from Congo fever in Mazar-e-Sharif, capital of northern Balkh province, on Sunday.

The two Balkh residents died at the Abu Ali Sina Hospital in Mazar-e-Sharif after having been admitted to the hospital a few days ago.

One patient came in from Jawzjan province and the other from Faryab province, said Najibullah Tawana, the Taliban’s spokesman for public hearth in Balkh.

He said 10 patients with Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever have been admitted to the hospital in the past week, two of whom have died.

According to doctors at the 50-bed hospital, a ward has been allocated exclusively for patients with Congo fever.

The doctors have meanwhile appealed to residents of Mazar to donate blood, which is needed to treat the infected patients.

They also said they are worried about a possible increase in cases in the lead up to Eid-al-Adha, which is at the end of next month.

Congo fever, or CCHF, is a viral disease transmitted to humans through ticks and livestock. Health experts say that the cases of Congo disease increase every year during the Eid al-Adha in Afghanistan.

According to the World Health Organization, the lack of timely laboratory diagnosis, late detection, inadequate infection control practices at healthcare facilities, and weak parasite control programs could also prolong outbreaks of hemorrhagic fevers.