Crimean-Congo: The ‘Asian Ebola’ Virus
Credit: H. Leblebicioglu et al., Am J Infect Control.
Unlike the Ebolavirus and Marburgvirus, which tend to be spread by direct contact with infected bats or primates (including humans), CCHF is transmitted by ticks, though it can also spread human-to-human. A recent report from the CDC describes an outbreak that occurred in central Uganda last summer.
The authors report seven cases of CCHF (two confirmed, five suspected), and they performed a case-control study to determine the cause of the outbreak. Each case was matched with four healthy neighbors as controls (for a total of 28 controls), each of whom were of the same sex and similar age as the afflicted.
The team discovered that the odds of tick exposure among cases was 11 times that among controls. Indeed, subsequent analyses revealed that 60% of cattle and 24% of goats where the cases worked had antibodies against CCHF, indicating that these animals had been exposed to the virus.
Though two of the patients died, the quick response by public health officials can be deemed a success. The community was immediately notified on how to avoid contracting CCHF, and no more cases developed.
Let us hope that future CCHF outbreaks go as smoothly.
Source: Kizito S, Okello PE, Kwesiga B, et al. “Notes from the Field: Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever Outbreak — Central Uganda, August–September 2017.” MMWR 67 (22): 646-647. DOI: 10.15585/mmwr.mm6722a6.
Not to be confused with SFTS, CCHF is often treated with Ribavirin: http://infectious-diseases-and-treatment.imedpub.com/research-advances-on-epidemiology-of-severefever-with-thrombocytopenia-syndrome-asystematic-review-of-the-literature.php?aid=17986
Ribavirin is reported to be effective for treating Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) infections and hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome, but it is still inadequate to judge the effect of ribavirin on SFTS patients because of the study limitation without adequate parameters were investigated . Host immune responses play an important role in determining the severity and clinical outcome in patients with infection by SFTSV
The take home here is that more and more viruses are being found in ticks. These ticks are being spread by birds everywhere (as well as other reservoirs). You need to be educated about this because I guarantee you, the doctors aren’t. Besides this ugly fact, researchers have yet to pin down all the pathogens inside these ticks. This fact will rear its ugly head when you are seen by a doctor who is uninformed.
Spread the word!