what you need to know about this tick-borne disease

Russian researchers have identified a new strain of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever with a death rate of up to 40% of those infected.

A disturbing discovery. On Tuesday, June 28, scientists from Moscow’s Sechenov University announced to the Tass news agency that they had identified a new strain of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever in southern Russia. This disease which causes outbreaks of severe viral haemorrhagic fever can kill up to 40% of those infected.

A disease already observed in Europe

Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever occurs in several countries in Africa, the Balkans, the Middle East and Asia. It is also responsible for epidemic waves in the southern regions of Russia, particularly on the borders of Ukraine, Georgia and Kazakhstan. More rarely, it is observed in Europe. In May 2020, a man had to be hospitalized in Spain after being bitten by a tick in a pine forest in the province of Salamanca, recalls The Independent.

The virus responsible for Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, of the Bunyaviridae family, “is transmitted mainly to humans from ticks and farm animals”, details the World Health Organization (WHO) . Humans can also transmit it to each other after direct contact with blood, secretions or biological fluids.

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Sudden onset symptoms

The incubation period of the virus is between one and 13 days. Symptoms then suddenly appear, such as fever, dizziness, muscle aches and stiffness, headaches and eye sensitivity, especially due to light. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, sore throat and confusion are also observed in some cases. “After two to four days, the agitation can give way to drowsiness, depression, weariness,” notes the WHO.

The other clinical signs are: tachycardia, swollen glands, bleeding from the mucous membranes. In the most severely affected people develop a rapid decline in kidney function, sudden liver or lung failure from the fifth day of illness, and death usually occurs during the second week of illness. For others, the general condition begins to improve nine to ten days after the onset of symptoms.

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