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NIH Issues Advisory on Preventative Measures for Eidul Azha

by Newsweek Pakistan
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File photo of a trader walking with his bulls as he waits for customers ahead of Eidul Azha. Rizwan Tabassum—AFP

Advisory warns cattle markets are at high risk of spread of both coronavirus and the Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever

The National Institute of Health on Wednesday issued an advisory warning that the movement of sacrificial animals ahead of Eidul Azha risks amplifying the spread of coronavirus and the Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever.

The Field Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Division of the NIH issued the advisory to encourage the adoption of preventative measures ahead of Eidul Azha and avoid the feared spread.

According to the advisory, a tick-borne virus with a fatality rate of 10-40 percent causes Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever. It said the virus is transmitted to people either through tick bites or through contact with an infected animal. It warned that as interactions between humans and animals tend to increase ahead of Eidul Azha, there was a risk of the disease spreading in cattle markets.

Similarly, the advisory warned that visits to crowded cattle markets and exposure to infectious materials and animals also risked aiding the transmission of COVID-19.

According to the advisory, the following measures should be taken to avoid contracting these infectious diseases:

  • Wear full-sleeved, and light-colored clothes and use gloves, face masks and hand sanitizers
  • Practice social distancing when visiting crowded places
  • Frequently wash hands and use sanitizer
  • Avoid crowded places as much as possible, including large family gatherings during Eid
  • Thoroughly wash hands with soap after coming into contact with animals or their blood

Neither coronavirus, nor the Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever, have vaccines and the only way to avoid infection is through preventative measures, the advisory added.

Seasonal awareness

The NIH also issued its 48th Seasonal Awareness and Alert Letter for epidemic-prone infectious diseases, providing details on the spread of high-priority communicable diseases such as Cholera, COVID-19, CCHF, Dengue, Leishmaniasis, Malaria, Measles, Polio and Typhoid XDR.

According to the letter, these diseases are deemed to be high risk during the summer and monsoon season from June to September 2020. It has been issued to alert the country’s health authorities and professionals about their threat and to facilitate a timely and efficient response to outbreaks.

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