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Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever

Dr Arantza Portillo discusses the changing epidemiology of this tick-borne viral disease in Spain and looks at the future situation for the UK.

Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF), which is caused by the virus with the same name (CCHFV), is the tick-borne arboviruses most widely distributed in the world. The disease can also be acquired in the work environment through contact with infected animals (slaughterhouse workers or butchers) or with secretions from infected patients (hospital-acquired infections), as happened in Spain some years ago. Vertical transmission and sexual transmission have been also documented.

For a number of reasons, such as a better knowledge of the disease by healthcare workers, the availability of diagnostic techniques and (probably) due to an increase in the distribution and number of its vectors, the incidence of CCHF has increased in recent years. Due to its epidemic potential, it is one of the diseases that the World Health Organization has prioritised for research and development for years, and it continues to be included in the new update.

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Image credit | Science-Photo-Library | Cretav Laboratory

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