Concern is growing over the tick borne disease called ‘Crimea Congo Hemorrhagic Fever’ (CCHF) that has so far claimed 40 lives this year.

Concern is growing over the tick borne disease called ‘Crimea Congo Hemorrhagic Fever’ (CCHF) that has so far claimed 40 lives this year.

CCHF occurs particularly in the summer months and is spread to humans via the bite of an infected tick.

Crimea Congo Hemorrhagic Fever was first discovered in 1944 in the Crimean peninsula; the Congo title was added in 1969 when the connection was made with the same disease found in central Africa since 1956.

People working with livestock, particularly sheep, in rural areas appear to be most at risk where transmission to humans occurs through contact with infected animal blood or ticks.
 
CCHF can also be transmitted from one infected human to another by contact with infectious blood or body fluids.
 
The onset of CCHF is sudden. After an incubation period of 2-7 days there is a sudden onset of flu-like symptoms including a severe headache, chills, fever, headache, muscular, lumbar and abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting.

After 3-5 days, hemorrhage begins and is seen as a red, purple or black discoloration of the skin and the development of nosebleeds. In about half of all cases the liver is enlarged. Blood is found in saliva, urine, black skin patches and vomit.

This will lead to shock, vascular collapse and death about 10 days after the onset of symptoms. If the patient survives and the fever begins to subside, then a long slow recovery is possible. The mortality rate from CCHF is approximately 30 percent.

An inactivated, mouse-brain derived vaccine against CCHF has been developed and is used on a small scale in Eastern Europe. However, there is no safe and effective vaccine widely available for human use.

Doctors say that it is very important to receive professional help to remove the tick from the body as the tick should be removed as a whole.

So how can you protect yourself from this threat? Well health offcials recommend the use of insect repellants containing DEET. These repellants are widely available from supermarkets and chemists and include popular brands such as OFF and DEFANS. If you are a pet owner you should ensure that your animals are regularly treated with anti flea/tick treatment.

You should also avoid handling wild animals that are alive or dead.

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