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Three people are being treated at the Tbilisi Infectious Diseases Hospital for a serious infectious disease – Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF), Amiran Gamkrelidze, head of the National Center for Disease Control and Public Health, said, according to a Sputnik news report.

Image/ ChrisO at the English Wikipedia project

“Crimean-Congo fever is one of the most serious diseases that passes from animal to human. Its so-called endemic foci are found in Samtskhe-Javakheti, in the region of Aspindza, Khashuri and several other regions,” Gamkrelidze said.

The National Centers for Disease Control and Public Health is actively working with the Department of Environment and Agriculture to ensure that livestock are treated appropriately, he said.

The disease was first identified in 1944 in the Crimea. CCHF is a widespread disease caused by a tick-borne virus (Nairovirus) of the Bunyaviridae family.

Symptoms come on suddenly with fever, myalgia (muscle pain), dizziness, neck pain and stiffness, back or lower back pain, headache, eye inflammation, and photophobia (sensitivity to light). There may be nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, pain in the abdomen and throat, followed by sudden mood swings and confusion.

After two to four days, excitement may be replaced by drowsiness, depression and fatigue, and pain in the abdomen may be localized in the right upper part.

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Other clinical signs include tachycardia (rapid heartbeat), swollen lymph nodes, and a rash caused by bleeding into the skin, on the inner surface of the mucous membranes, such as in the mouth and throat, and on the skin.

There are usually signs of hepatitis, and after the fifth day of illness, severely ill patients may experience a rapid deterioration in kidney function and sudden liver or lung failure.

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.