Muscat: Smuggled livestock could have been the source of the Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) that killed a Bangladeshi expatriate last week in Buraimi, according to sources.

Sources at the Buraimi Hospital said an illegal Pakistani, who handled livestock, could also have died from CCHF two week ago.

The unclaimed body of the Pakistani was still lying in the Buraimi hospital morgue but no investigation was carried out to determine the cause of death although his symptoms were similar to those of CCHF.

"There is a thriving trade of illegally imported livestock as it comes much cheaper than the livestock imported with proper certification from the authorities," the sources said, adding that most of these smuggled livestock come from the Horn of Africa.

Oman is believed to be largely free of such a tick-borne viral infection.

The middle-aged Bangladeshi who died last week was not a woman as reported earlier. He was a cook working with a restaurant in Buraimi. The health authorities are confused about how the restaurant employee contracted the infection when he had no direct contact with the livestock.

However, a source believes that the Bangladeshi could be working part time in loading/unloading of smuggled livestock and could have contracted infection while handling the "illegal cargo".

The Ministry of Health (MoH) has cautioned the public about misleading information about the CCHF. The ministry statement stressed that only one case of CCHF has been reported.