7 dead in Congo fever outbreak in Mali

Seven people have died in an outbreak of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, also known as Congo fever, in a village in central Mali, an official said.

Yacouba Maiga, the spokesperson for the regional government of the central Mopti region, said that a shepherd "contracted the illness from an ox" in the village of Samoa in late January.

He was treated but the disease surfaced again on February 1 infecting 14 people and killing five, the official said.

Two other patients died while being transported to the town of Sevare, in central Mali, for treatment.

"It's different to coronavirus," said Maiga, referring to the deadly SARS-like virus currently sweeping China.

Congo fever is a tick-borne which causes severe haemorrhaging, according to the World Health Organization.

People are often infected after they come into contact with the blood of infected animals, often after slaughtering livestock.

Humans in very close contact with each other, however, can also transmit the disease.

"It's a rare pathology in Mali. There have been cases around 10 years ago," Health Minister Michel Sidibe told AFP.

Health officials were preparing for an "investigative mission in the area with the support of security forces," according to a ministry report from Monday, which was seen by AFP on Wednesday.

However, an official in Mopti said the fact-finding team had not yet left on Wednesday.

The Mopti region in Mali is hit by regular jihadist attacks, as a conflict between the militant and government and foreign forces is raging in the area.

The violence has its roots in a 2012 rebellion in northern Mali, which has since spread to the centre of the country, and also to neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.


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© 2020 AFP

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