Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever Virus
Crimean Congo Haemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV)
Crimean Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) is a tick-borne infection that is geographically widespread across Africa, Asian, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. It is caused by Crimean Congo haemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV), which is an enveloped single stranded RNA virus that belongs to the genus Nairovirus and a member of the Bunyaviridae family.
The CCHF virus is primarily maintained in a cycle with domestic animals and livestock by ticks of the Hyalomma genus (1). However, the virus can be transmitted to humans by CCHFV infected ticks or through contact with CCHFV infected animal tissue. Human-to-human transmission can also occur which poses a significant risk to healthcare workers.
In humans, the incubation period of the virus varies with route of exposure. Whilst infected animals remain asymptomatic, CCHFV infection in humans results in a range of clinical symptoms including fever, myalgia, nausea, and headaches before the disease progresses to the haemorrhagic stage (2). According to the World Health Organization (WHO), CCHF can be fatal in 10-40% of cases (3).
Since CCHF was first described in Crimea in 1944, sporadic outbreaks have occurred globally. In 2015, CCHFV was identified by the WHO as an emerging virus which is likely to cause a severe epidemic and which may present a public health emergency (4). Currently, CCHF virus infection is diagnosed by isolating the virus in early stages of the infection and then by serology, immunofluorescence and molecular techniques. Prophylactic vaccines are in development but a safe, effective vaccine has not yet been licensed for use in humans.
- Spengler, J.R. et al (2016) Seroepidemiological Studies of Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever Virus in Domestic and Wild Animals. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 7:10(1):e0004210.
- Shayan, S. et al (2015) Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever. Lab Med. 46:180-9.
- World Health Organization – Media centre: Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever.
- WHO list of top emerging diseases
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