UK health authorities have confirmed an imported case of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) in England. The woman had recently travelled to Central Asia.
The patient was diagnosed at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and is receiving specialist care at the Royal Free Hospital in London.
Prior to this case, there have been 2 cases of CCHF imported to the UK, in 2012 and one in 2014. There was no evidence of onward transmission from either of these cases.
Dr Susan Hopkins, Chief Medical Advisor at UKHSA said:
It’s important to be aware that CCHF is usually spread by tick bites in countries where the disease is endemic, it does not spread easily between people and the overall risk to the public is very low.
We are working with NHS EI to contact the individuals who have had close contact with the case prior to confirmation of their infection, to assess them as necessary and provide advice.
UKHSA and the NHS have well established and robust infection control procedures for dealing with cases of imported infectious disease and these will be strictly followed.
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%.
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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