Attention to Ticks in Summer – Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever

Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) is a tick-borne viral disease caused by CCHF virus. The Crimean–Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV) is a member of the genus Orthonairovirus, family Nairoviridae of RNA viruses. Ticks, particularly those of the Hyalomma genus, are both “environmental reservoirs” and vectors for this virus, carrying it from wild animals to domestic animals and humans. Direct transmission via blood, secretions and bodily fluids can also occur from animal to human or human to human.

The disease gets its name from the Crimean Peninsula where the disease was first described, in 1944. After it was discovered that the same virus was also responsible for the outbreak in Congo in 1956, the disease name was changed to Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever.

CCHF outbreaks constitute an important health threat since the virus can lead to epidemics and has a high fatality ratio (10-40%). CCHF is especially common in Africa, the Balkans, the Middle East and Asia.

High-risk groups include people in these endemic areas, doing outdoor activities, farmers, veterinarians, hunters, healthcare workers and animal breeders. For these high-risk groups, wearing protective clothing that covers the skin, using chemical tick repellents to prevent tick bites and following safe practices in processing meat are recommended.

Incubation is about 1-3 days following the tick bite and 5-13 days following contact with the infected blood or tissue. A sudden onset of flu-like symptoms like fever, headache, myalgia, malaise, abdominal pain, diarrhoea and vomiting characterises this disease. At the further stages of this disease, tachycardia, enlarged lymph nodes and rashes caused by bleeding into the skin, mouth and throat can be seen. Rapid kidney deterioration, and sudden liver or pulmonary failure usually after the fifth day of illness can lead to more severe cases.

Currently, there are no FDA- or WHO-approved vaccinations. Rapid diagnosis is critical in the rapid onset of CCHF treatment. One way of accurate and easy diagnosis is detecting the virus’ RNA in biological samples. For example, Bosphore CCHFV Quantification Kit v1 detects and quantitates all four genotypes of CCHF virus RNA in human serum and plasma samples, including internal control to check the PCR inhibition.

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