“The virus that has so far killed three people in Gujarat is a category 4 virus, the most dangerous of all,” NIV director A.C. Mishra told IANS.
Thirty-year-old Amina Momin was admitted to a private hospital in Ahmedabad in the first week of January after she was reported suffering from a mysterious fever. The patient subsequently died. There was consternation in medical circles when her consulting doctor Gagan Sharma, who had examined her, also passed away Jan 13. Her nurse Asha John died Tuesday.
Amina's husband Hussain Rehman and brother Hussain Rasool are also suspected to have contracted the same virus.
“CCHF, a viral haemorrhagic fever of the nairovirus group, spreads through the aerosol route. Symptoms include high fever and a drop in platelet count,” Mishra said.The NIV is testing 50 samples from the area and has alerted the Gujarat government of a possible outbreak.
“We have suggested isolation of patients, usage of masks by doctors and other medical staff treating the patients and by the relatives of the patients.
“This is a must as the virus is highly infectious. We have also suggested some strong anti-viral drugs to counter the symptoms, but more research will have to be done on the samples collected to come up with an absolute solution,” he added.
CCHF has symptoms similar to dengue, and occurs in cattle, sheep and goats. Outbreaks in humans, when they occur, spread very rapidly.This is the first occurrence of the virus in India. “The disease has caused panic in a few areas of Russia and China and parts of Afghanistan earlier. But how it has entered India is a matter of research,” Mishra said.