At least 64 people have lost their lives to Congo fever in Iraq since the start of the year, revealed the health ministry on Wednesday, stressing that the disease was “still under control at the moment.”
“According to the latest data from the national center for epidemiological diseases, there have been 505 confirmed infection cases of Congo fever during 2023, including 64 deaths,” Saif al-Badr, spokesperson for the health ministry, told Iraqi state media.
The southern province of Dhi Qar, widely regarded as the source of the disease in Iraq, recorded the highest number of infections. At least 125 infections and 12 have death have been reported in Dhi Qar.
Dhi Qar is known for rearing cattle, sheep and goats, all of which are potential carriers of the disease.
Basra has also reported a high number of Congo fever cases with 76 infections and 11 deaths, according to Badr.
The spokesperson noted that the methods to treat the infections followed by the ministry have proven to have a high recovery rate, adding that the disease remains under control for the time being.
The Crimean-Congo fever is tick-borne and causes severe hemorrhaging. It has been endemic to Iraq since 1979 and has reappeared again since 2021 sparking fear among locals, especially in Iraq's southern provinces.
The disease can be transmitted from one infected human to another by contact with infectious blood or body fluids, according to World Health Organization (WHO). Signs of the fever include bleeding, excessive headaches, fatigue, blue marks on the skin, and hematuria - blood in the urine - amongst others.