Fears of the return of the Black Death is spreading across Africa after a 9-year-old girl in Uganda died with blood oozing from her eyes.
The girl showed symptoms similar to the Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever, with concerns that the disease is becoming more deadly.
Girl In Uganda Dies From Eye-Bleeding Fever
A 9-year-old girl from Uganda died from the new disease. Also known as the Black Death, it is usually spread through tick bites or contact with livestock infected with it.
Its symptoms include muscle pains, vomiting, headaches, diarrhea, and massive bleeding, potentially leading to death. Up to 40 percent of people who are infected by CCHR succumb to the disease.
Dr. Badru Ssesimba, a health officer for the Nakaseke district of Uganda, led a team that collected the deceased girl's blood samples. It also disinfected her house where she was found dead in a pool of her own blood.
The blood samples were then forwarded to the Uganda Virus Research Institute in order to run the tests and confirm if CCHR was indeed the cause of the girl's death. According to authorities, the body of the girl will be buried by the health teams to prevent the spreading of the disease.
Panic In Africa Due To CCHR
There are no vaccines available for both humans and animals against Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever. This is why there is extreme panic in case there is another outbreak of the disease as there is no protection available against it.
Since CCHR was discovered in 1944, there have been almost 140 outbreaks involving over 5,000 cases worldwide, with 52 countries tagged as endemic or possibly endemic regions.
Animals are infected when infected ticks bite them, and they pass it on to other ticks as the virus remains active in their bloodstream for a week. The cycle involves both domestic animals such as sheep, goats, and cattle. Many birds are resistant to the infection, but ostriches are susceptible.
Humans can be infected by CCHR through contact with livestock, human-to-human transmission, or through tick bites. If infected through a tick bite, the incubation period is often one to three days or a maximum of nine days. The incubation after coming into contact with infected blood or tissue, meanwhile, is often five to six days, or a maximum of 13 days.
Fortunately, there is a cure for CCHR in the antiviral drug ribavirin. Both oral and intravenous formulations of the drug have found success in treating patients, according to the World Health Organization.
However, with a mortality rate of up to 40 percent, it is understandable why people are afraid of the return of the Black Death.