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Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, first case in Europe: what it is, symptoms and how dangerous it is

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Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, first case in Europe: what it is, symptoms and how dangerous it is
Written by aquitodovale

Hemorrhagic fever has also reached Europe. The first case of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, also called CCHF. World Health Organization has defined the hemorrhagic fever virus as capable of causing “severe outbreaks of viral haemorrhagic fever with a mortality rate of up to 40%“.

The first case in Europe was found in a hospital in Spain, where a middle-aged man was hospitalized with typical symptoms of the virus, such as bleeding from the eyes. Other symptoms are quite common such as stomach pain, headache and vomiting, but it is evident that the symptom that most alarms is the bleeding of the eyes and hence the definition of hemorrhagic fever. Other symptoms of haemorrhagic fever manifest themselves, as the virus progresses, in a “haemorrhagic” condition such as the appearance of large bruises on the body.

The spread of the CCHF virus is due to a wide range of wild and even domestic animals such as cattle, sheep and goats. However, it is the tick bite that inserts the Nairovirus virus, of the family Bunyaviridae, in animals. So the spread of the virus can take place in two ways: through the tick bite and through contact with blood and tissues of infected animals during or after slaughter.

Here’s what we know about the first case of hemorrhagic fever in Europe, what is it Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic feverwhat are the symptoms, besides the worrying bleeding of the eyes, but above all how dangerous it can be.

What is Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever: attention rises after the first case in Europe

Every year Italy is at risk of emergency of very serious viruses such as West Nile, which gives neurological symptoms and hemorrhagic fever, Chikungunya virus and others. Yet not enough prevention is done because the contagion is considered lower than airborne viruses such as the coronavirus that caused the Covid-19 pandemic. The viruses mentioned above are carried by mosquitoes, while the virus that causes Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever is transmitted by ticks.

Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) is an endemic disease in Africa, the Balkans, the Middle East and countries south of the 50th North parallel. There is currently no vaccine available and treatments are also limited.

The case of haemorrhagic fever discovered in Spain was possible due to the presence of a rather evident symptom, but frightening: the haemorrhage of the eyes. The middle-aged man, who tested positive for the haemorrhagic fever virus, was first treated in a hospital in a Spanish region and then transported elsewhere, to be isolated and treated.

What are the symptoms of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever?

Virus infection of the Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever it does not always occur through the bite of a tick and the incubation period depends on the modality in which the virus is acquired. In fact, it can happen that the virus is transmitted through the meat of other animals during or after the slaughter phase. In the case of a tick bite, the incubation period ranges from 1 to 3 days, with a maximum of 9 days. In the case of contact with blood and infected tissues, the minimum incubation is 5-6 days, with a documented maximum of 13 days.

Always on the portal ofWHO we read that the onset of symptoms is quite sudden. The first symptom of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever is precisely the feverfollowed by muscular pain, dizzinessneck pain, back pain, and headache photosensitivity to the light. Alongside these symptoms can also occur nauseavomiting, abdominal pain, sore throat e mood swings and confusion. Eventually these behavioral symptoms can worsen into drowsiness, depression and fatigue.

It is also possible to notice a generalized pain in the right area of ​​the body where the liver is located due toenlargement of the organ. The same may occur: swollen lymph nodes, tachycardia and rashes due to bleeding of the skin, mouth and throat. These symptoms demonstrate a worsening of the disease.

How dangerous is hemorrhagic fever?

After the long list of symptoms presented in the last paragraph it is evident that the Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever it is quite dangerous. The mortality rate is around 30-40%. The most serious symptoms begin to appear after the fifth day of the first fever, but the worsening times are rather rapid and within two weeks it can be fatal.

There treatment for Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever provides treatment through a antiviral drug which can be taken in oral or intravenous form. If the drug is taken on time and takes effect the improvements begin to show around the ninth to tenth day of the onset of the disease.

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