PESHAWAR: At least 20 persons, including 12 from Balochistan province alone have died country-wide because of Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) this year while five suspected patients were registered at Hayatabad Medical Complex Peshawar. As the days to Eidul-Azha come close, the momentum is picking up for people to visit cattle markets, in search of sacrificial animals. However health experts warn that the lack of precautionary measures could result in the spread of the Congo virus, resulting in a high number of infections among people across the country. According to the data available with health officials, around 12 people have so far lost their lives to Congo virus in Baluchistan province. Meanwhile five people in Karachi, two in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and two people in Bahawalpur died of the disease this year. Hayatabad Medical Complex Peshawar received five suspected patients of the Congo virus between January and August, 2016. Three of those patients tested positive for Congo. One of the patients killed in Peshawar was in fact brought from Afghanistan, while the other one belonged to Bannu district. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Health Department has sent directives to all the medical teaching institutions and the districts headquarter hospitals and the concerned district coordination officers to take tangible steps for the eradication of Congo Virus in their concerned districts and hospitals. An official of the health department on the condition of anonymity said that the health department had already issued notification to the concerned officials to take practical steps regarding Congo Virus. He further said that the department also directed the concerned hospitals and the medical directors to establish isolation wards for Congo patients in the hospitals, adding that the mortality ratio of Congo in the country is from 35 to 50 per cent. He informed that the concerned DCOs of the province had directed to visit Cattle Mandi and constitute a committee which will insure the vaccination of animals as well as insure the farmers to inform them about the precautionary measure from Congo Virus. He also added that all the concerned hospitals and their staff and the district administration were directed to make a Standard Operating Procedure (SOPs) regarding Congo Virus as well as insure the health staff training regarding the Congo Virus. He lamented that already the health department had also published some public messages and placards inscribed with precautionary measures regarding Congo Virus and it will be distributed in public places and animal cattle houses for awareness. Hayatabad Medical Complex Isolation Ward In Charge, Dr. Imran, while talking to Daily Times said about Congo fever that the disease was caused by the bite of an infected tick. “When an infected tick bites an animal, usually a goat or sheep, the animal gets infected by developing fever.” He further said that the virus circulated in the blood of the infected animal; any person slaughtering it gets infected. He informed that as most of the patients of Congo disease were brought from Afghanistan so special measures were also needed to be established for vaccination of animals when crossing the border . He informed that special precautionary measures should be taken by the health experts while dealing with Congo patients, as well as people while dealing with or buying sacrifice animals, they should wear globs and cover themselves properly.