Thursday, October 04, 2012

Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever Patient Isolated In Glasgow



Photo Credit CDC



# 6608


We’ve multiple news reports this evening that a patient suffering from Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever has been isolated in a hospital in Glasgow, Scotland just hours after arriving on an Emirates flight from Dubai.


The 38 year-old man is reportedly in critical condition, and contract tracing is being done on three passengers who sat near him on the flight, although the risk of transmission is considered low.


This report from the BBC.


Crimean-Congo Viral Haemorrhagic Fever case in Glasgow

4 October 2012 Last updated at 16:47 ET

A man is being treated in complete isolation in Glasgow after being confirmed as having Crimean-Congo Viral Haemorrhagic Fever.


The 38-year-old man is said to be in a critical condition in the city's specialist Brownlee unit.

(Continue . . . )



While uncommon in Western Europe, this tickborne virus is widely distributed across parts of Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, the Mediterranean, central Asia, southern Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and the Indian subcontinent.


Credit WHO



CCHF is a Nairovirus in the family Bunyaviridae, and was first described in the Crimea in 1944.  Later it was also isolated in the Congo (1969) – hence the name.


CCHF is normally transmitted to humans via the bite of a tick, or via contact with the blood of infected animals, although there have been reports of nosocomial (in hospital) transmission as well (see 2010 report  WHO On Cholera/CCHF/Dengue Outbreaks In Pakistan),


Here is how the CDC’s Special Pathogen’s Branch describes its transmission.


Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever

How is CCHF spread and how do humans become infected?

Ixodid (hard) ticks, especially those of the genus, Hyalomma, are both a reservoir and a vector for the CCHF virus. Numerous wild and domestic animals, such as cattle, goats, sheep and hares, serve as amplifying hosts for the virus. Transmission to humans occurs through contact with infected animal blood or ticks. CCHF can be transmitted from one infected human to another by contact with infectious blood or body fluids. Documented spread of CCHF has also occurred in hospitals due to improper sterilization of medical equipment, reuse of injection needles, and contamination of medical supplies.


The World Health Organization’s Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever FAQ page  has more information, including this on the mortality rate.


  • The mortality rate from CCHF is approximately 30%, with death occurring in the second week of illness. In those patients who recover, improvement generally begins on the ninth or tenth day after the onset of illness.


The public health risk in Scotland from this patient would appear low, as he was isolated within hours of arrival and the hospital staff will be taking precautions.


Today’s story once again illustrates how easily exotic infectious diseases can show up anywhere in the world.  Oceans, borders, and long distances are no longer protective against viral invaders. 


They are just a plane ride away from any major city on the globe.


For more on the problems in identifying and isolating infectious air travelers, you may wish to revisit Pathogens At the Gate.

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