UK & World News
Congo Fever: Fears For Victim's Family
The man who died in Britain's first case of Crimean-Congo viral haemorrhagic fever (CCVHF) was an Afghan national who was married with a young son, Sky News has learned.
Having come to the UK seeking asylum, the man, aged in his late 30s, had lived in Glasgow for several years and worked as a mechanic in a garage that he owned in the city's East End.
The man, who has not yet been named, was diagnosed with the rare tropical disease after flying into Glasgow last Tuesday following a trip to Afghanistan.
The man's friends in Glasgow are now concerned for at least three of his family members back in Afghanistan, who are displaying the same symptoms.
Having undergone initial treatment in Glasgow, the man was transferred to London's Royal Free Hospital in a RAF isolation aircraft.
The Royal Free, which houses a specialist centre for hazardous infections, confirmed on Saturday that he had died.
Sky News understands the man had been attending his brother's wedding in Samangan Province, around 250km (150 miles) north of Kabul.
He began to experience symptoms of CCVHF on his return journey and, by the time he returned to Glasgow, was very ill.
The man was a member of the Scottish Afghan Society and its acting chairman Mohammed Asif told Sky News: "He was 38 years old and had a son who is aged 5 or 6.
"My friend picked him up at Glasgow Airport and he was in pain, he was very tired and his body was aching."
Mr Asif said: "The biggest worry is that the disease might spread. Three members of his family, including a brother and sister, are showing similar symptoms: vomiting, ear pain and body ache.
"We've been in touch with local politicians in the area to warn them - my friend stayed the night in a guesthouse in Kabul on his way back.
"There, they have burned the carpets, mattresses, cups and cutlery that he might have used.
"He flew back to Glasgow via Dubai but had missed his connecting flight and so had to stay the night in Dubai airport.
"The police there stopped him because they thought he might have taken drugs but they soon realised that he was just very sick."
Mr Asif said the man's family in Afghanistan have not yet been informed of his death.
"We are currently making efforts to contact them," he said.
"At the moment his wife, who is Eastern European, is liaising with the authorities about funeral arrangements.
"It may be that, because of the circumstances of his death, that we're unable to send his body back to Afghanistan for a funeral. We may have to bury him in a Muslim cemetery in Glasgow."
It is the first confirmed case of CCVHF in the United Kingdom.
Two passengers who sat near to the man on the Emirates flight from Dubai to Glasgow are being monitored as a precaution.
:: Anyone who is worried they may have the disease should contact NHS24 for advice on 0800 0858531.
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