The Indian Council of Medical Research on Thursday confirmed that nine people have tested positive for Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever in Gujarat, The Indian Express reported.

The fever, also known as Congo fever, is zoonotic viral disease transmitted from animals to humans. It reportedly kills up to 30% of those infected. The virus causes severe viral haemorrhagic fever and it can be transmitted from one infected person to another by contact with infectious blood or body fluids.

However, the head of Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases division at ICMR, RR Gangakhedkar, called this “a small outbreak”.

“Of 78 samples tested from Gujarat in August this year, virologists have been able to confirm the presence of the virus in nine samples,” Gangakhedkar told The Indian Express. “Moreover, out of the two samples sent from Rajasthan one has tested positive.”

Gujarat Health Department officials said four patients have so far succumbed to the fever in the state.

“The last patient died on September 3, but we received news on her sample testing positive for CCHF late Wednesday night,” doctor Dinkar Raval said.

An alert has been issued in Western Rajasthan as border areas in Pakistan and in Gujarat have reported increased Congo fever cases, The Times of India reported on Friday.

“We have issued directions to all our officials to remain alert,” Chief Medical Health Officer of Jaisalmer BK Barupal said. “Doctors have been told to remain alert if a patient with CCHF-like symptoms comes to them for treatment.”

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