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Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever

What is Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever?

Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever, also called Central Asian Hemorrhagic Fever, is an acute tick-borne viral disease caused by the Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever virus. Patients usually present, after an incubation period of 2 to 7 days, with sudden onset of fever, malaise, marked loss of appetite, headache, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea, rash and bleeding(e.g. from gum and nose). Case-fatality rate ranges from 2% to 50%.

How does it spread?

Ticks, hares, birds and rodents in steppe regions of Eurasia and in tropical Africa are believed to be the reservoir hosts of the virus. Domestic animals such as sheep, goats and cattle may act as amplifying hosts. The disease is similar to Xinjiang Hamorrhagic Fever in China, where the distribution is mainly in southern Xinjiang, transmitted by ticks, being most active in months of April and May and occurs sporadically.

Humans are usually infected by bite of infective adult ticks. Health care workers can be infected through exposure to blood and secretions of patients. Infection is also associated with butchering infected animals.

How can you prevent it?

No vaccine is available. Travellers going to the villages or forests of endemic areas can be at risk of contracting the disease. They should adopt measures similar to anti-mosquito measures to avoid tick bite, and avoid contact with wild animals like hares and rodents.

How is it treated?

Intravenous ribavirin and convalescent plasma may be useful. As the disease is highly infectious in the hospital setting, health care workers should adopt strict infection control practice in handling blood and secretions of infected patients.

 


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Last revision date: 10 October 2012