After the Black Death outbreak that claimed thousands of lives in Africa last year, East Africa is teetering on the brink of a health crisis after a nine-year-old girl lost her life to a mysterious “Bleeding Eye Fever.” The Bleeding Eye Fever that is touted to be deadlier than the plague has killed four and infected dozens, has escalated fear of major health crisis in East Africa.
As per media reports, the disease owes its unique nomenclature to one of its symptoms that makes the sufferers bleed out of orifices such as the eyes. Health experts have confirmed that the disease is the dreaded Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF), a viral disease spread by ticks and endemic in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East.
If left unchecked, health experts opine that the bleeding eye fever may prove to be more devastating than last year’s Black Death outbreak, which claimed thousands of lives in the continent. Given that CCHF’s fatality rate is a whopping 40 percent, the paranoia and fear related to the disease is entirely warranted.
The Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever is transmitted to humans through tick bites, or through contact with the blood of infected animals especially during slaughter; causing headaches, vomiting, muscle pain, diarrhoea and bleeding.
Bleeding Eye Fever begins like a normal fever before escalating when the victim starts to vomit blood.
After the girl died in Nakaseke district of central Uganda, a health team rushed to collect her body and disinfect her house, and blood samples have been taken to Uganda Virus Research Institute to confirm the cause of death.
The symptoms of the viral disease are said to include headaches, bleeding, vomiting, diarrhoea and muscle pains. The viral haemorrhagic fever is said to leave people bleeding from their eyes, mouth and anus. Other symptoms include dizziness, body stiffness, backache, sore eyes, abdominal pain, mood swings and confusion.