On 8 August 2018, a case of Crimea-Congo virus infection, acquired locally, was reported in Spain, in the Autonomous Community of Castile and León.
The case was a 74-year-old man who died during hospitalization. The man claimed to have been bitten by a tick on July 24, while participating in a hunt in a rural area of Badajoz (Extremadura).
This is the second report of human cases of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever in Spain.
The first human case was found by the Spanish authorities in 2016.
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%.
These are not the first CCHF cases reported in Europe. The European CDC (ECDC) notes that human infections have been reported from Albania, Armenia, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Russia, Serbia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. In June 2008, a first case was diagnosed in Greece.
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.