Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF), a viral hemorrhagic fever caused by tick borne virus, Nairovirus, belonging to the family Bunyaviridae, has been established as an endemic disease in parts of Gujarat, with sporadic deaths being reported from it every year. The disease is spread by ticks like Hyalomma spp and although it can be treated by anti-virals like Ribavirin, it is known to have high mortality rates, since it is critical to diagnose the disease early and start treatment as early as possible.
This is a zoonotic disease, usually affecting people who are involved with the livestock industry and rear cattle or are involved with agriculture or slaughter-houses, or veterinarians. Although this is the second death from CCHF in recent times, it has not been clearly established how the infection was acquired by the victims or where the reservoir maybe established. Epidemiological enquiries are underway to establish the risk factors associated with CCHF and to possibly identify and terminate the cycle of infection.
In its fact sheet, the SEARO WHO website states the following about the transmission of CCHF:
Humans who become infected with CCHF acquire the virus from direct contact with blood or other infected tissues from livestock having viraemia, or they may become infected from a tick bite. The majority of cases have occurred in those involved with the livestock industry, such as agricultural workers, slaughterhouse workers and veterinarians.
CCHF can be transmitted from one infected human to another by contact with infectious blood or body fluids. Documented spread of CCHF has also occurred in hospitals due to improper sterilization of medical equipment, reuse of injection needles, and contamination of medical supplies. Nosocomial infections were documented in Albania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Russia, Iran and Pakistan.
Image Credits: WHO