Science & Tech

Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) is a type of hemorrhagic fever that occurs in the Crimea

  • Europe is currently experiencing a heatwave and wildfires, raising fears about the spread of viruses common in colder areas.
  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) has issued a warning about Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF), a potentially lethal sickness spread by ticks.

What exactly is CCHF?

  • CCHF is a viral hemorrhagic fever spread mostly by ticks.
  • It can also be contracted by coming into contact with viraemic animal tissues while slaughtering animals.
  • CCHF outbreaks can cause epidemics with a high case-fatality ratio (10-40%), making prevention and treatment difficult.

Transmission as well as Hosts

  • The virus can be found in the tick family of insects.
  • Cattle, goats, sheep, and hares are all amplifying hosts for the virus.
  • Contact with infected ticks or animal blood can expose humans to CCHF.
  • The virus can also be passed from person to person by contact with infectious blood or bodily fluids.
  • Ticks can be carried by migrating birds, allowing the virus to spread over great distances.

Treatment and Symptoms

  • Fever, muscle aches, disorientation, neck and back discomfort, headache, painful eyes, and light sensitivity are all common symptoms of CCHF.
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal discomfort, and sore throat are common early symptoms, followed by mood swings and bewilderment.
  • Sleepiness, sadness, and lassitude may occur in later phases.
  • There is no vaccine for CCHF in humans or animals, and therapy focuses on symptom management.
  • Ribavirin, an antiviral medication, has been used to treat CCHF infection with some success.

CCHF spread in Europe

  • CCHF is found in Africa, the Balkans, the Middle East, and portions of Asia.
  • In 2016, Spain reported the first CCHF fatality in Europe.
  • Scientists warn that CCHF, which can be fatal in 10% to 40% of cases, is expanding northward and westward across Europe.
  • CCHF cases have been documented in Spain, Russia, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.

Causes of this spread

  • Pathogens are benefiting from disrupted temperature patterns caused by climate change.
  • Due to longer and drier summers induced by climate change, CCHF ticks are migrating northward through Europe.
  • Climate change contributes to disease spread by extending tick habitats, changing water habitats, and promoting animal movement and human interactions.
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