​​​​Congo Virus

Congo Virus or Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) is a tick borne viral disease that infects wild and domestic animals, including livestock. Humans can contract this disease by getting bitten by an infected tick living on the host animal or coming into contact with the blood, tissues or fresh meat of the infected animal. Human-to-human transmission is also possible in case of close contact with the organs, blood or other secretions and bodily fluids of the infected person. 

Congo virus does not survive high temperatures, and well-cooked meat does not pose any risk of transmission of the virus.


If you get bitten by an infected tick, or come in close contact of an infected person or animal’s body fluids, seek immediate medical attention if you start showing the following symptoms. These symptoms appear within 1 to 3 days of the transmission and initially resemble symptoms of flu. As the disease progresses, you will most likely experience the following indications:

  • High grade fever

  • Stomach pain

  • Diarrhoea

  • Myalgia (muscle aches)

  • Headache 

  • Nausea

  • Sensitivity to light

After 2 days, you may start showing additional symptoms including:

Congo Virus has a high fatality rate of up to 40%; thus if suspected, it needs immediate medical attention. If diagnosed late, these symptoms are difficult to control and can lead to organ failure and eventual death. Hence, early intervention is crucial.

If you experience any of the above symptoms and suspect that you may have been exposed to, or if you work in an environment where Congo virus is likely present, seek medical advice immediately. Please report to the Emergency Room or make an appointment to consult with our expert doctors working with the Internal Medicine Service Line at The Aga Khan University Hospital.

Your time with your doctor maybe limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here are some tips to help get you started.

When a patient is brought to The Aga Khan University Hospital with history of fever and contact with livestock, he or she is firstly ruled out for Congo virus. This is done through a blood test, Real time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), which looks for the presence of viral RNA sequence at the molecular level. 
Early diagnosis and prompt institution of fluids, blood products, and Ribavirin are absolutely essential and life-saving in this serious infection. Recovery is usually slow.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.

The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments' costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.

Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.

The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.