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Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever – symptoms, course, mortality

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It is “highly likely” that Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever will spread in the UK in the near future, researchers from Cambridge say. In the past, isolated cases of this dangerous tick-borne disease were detected in the UK. No case has been reported in Poland so far.

According to information from the World Health Organization (WHO), large outbreaks of Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) have recently appeared in Iraq and Namibia. In the first of these countries, from January to the end of May last year, 212 cases of this disease were recorded, 27 of the infected died. There have been almost 100 cases of infection in Iraq this year, and 13 patients have died, the French news agency France-Presse reported in May.

In turn, in Namibia authorities declared a hemorrhagic fever outbreak in May this year, after an infected person died in the capital, Windhoek. Two people have died recently in Pakistan, where only in May there were 11 cases of this disease – informs “Newsweek”. He adds that fatal cases have also been recorded in Europe in recent years, including in Spain. – Ticks move around Europe for a reason climate changeespecially with the longer and drier summer, said Ali Mirazimi, a virologist at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute. In Poland, no case has been reported so far, but – according to the government portal gov.pl – cases of the disease in humans have been confirmed, among others in Albania, Armenia, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Russia, Serbia, Tajikistan, Turkey and Ukraine.

The Newsweek website quoted James Wood, head of the department of veterinary medicine at the University of Cambridge, who last week met with the UK Parliament’s Science, Innovation and Technology Committee. Wood told MPs there was “a high probability” that tick-borne CCHF would start spreading in the UK. explains that three cases of the disease have been recorded in the UK since 2012, but infections have so far only been detected in people coming from distant countries.

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Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever – what is this disease?

The Polish Chief Sanitary Inspectorate translates on the government websitethat Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever is a tick-borne viral disease. It is caused by an arbovirus of the Buynaviridae family. Infection can also occur through contact with infected animals or contaminated meat, blood or skin. “The period from the moment of a tick bite to the appearance of the first symptoms is up to 9 days (on average 1-3 days), and after contact with infected tissues up to 14 days. As a result of infection in humans, body temperature rises, muscle pain and stiffness, dizziness headache, photophobia, abdominal pain and vomiting. Then there are disorientation, mood changes, and the sick person becomes aggressive. In the further course of the disease petechiae appear on the skin of the trunk and limbs” – explains the Chief Sanitary Inspectorate.

World Health ORganisation reports that the mortality rate of CCHF is – depending on the specific outbreak – from 10 to even 40 percent. Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever is on the list of nine diseases treated by the WHO as a priority due to their epidemic potential.

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Main photo source: Adobe Stock



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