A Karachi man is the sixth recorded death due to Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) in Pakistan this year-to-date. According to a local media report, the 52-year-old man fell ill following Eidul Azha after helping with slaughtering animals in his locality.
The CCHF fatalities this year include four Quetta residents died at the Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) and one Karachi resident each at the South City Hospital and the Liaquat National Hospital.
According to the WHO, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever is a widespread disease caused by a tick-borne virus (Nairovirus) of the Bunyaviridae family. The CCHF virus causes severe viral hemorrhagic fever outbreaks, with a case fatality rate of 10–40%.
CCHF is endemic in Africa, the Balkans, the Middle East and Asian countries south of the 50th parallel north – the geographical limit of the principal tick vector. The hosts of the CCHF virus include a wide range of wild and domestic animals such as cattle, sheep and goats.
Animals become infected by the bite of infected ticks and the virus remains in their bloodstream for about one week after infection, allowing the tick-animal-tick cycle to continue when another tick bites. Although a number of tick genera are capable of becoming infected with CCHF virus, ticks of the genus Hyalomma are the principal vector.
The CCHF virus is transmitted to people either by tick bites or through contact with infected animal blood or tissues during and immediately after slaughter. The majority of cases have occurred in people involved in the livestock industry, such as agricultural workers, slaughterhouse workers and veterinarians. Human-to-human transmission is possible.
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