Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever – Uganda

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A 16-year old girl, resident of the Kyangwali refugee settlement area, tested positive for Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever in Uganda.

The virus, caused by a tick-borne virus is primarily transmitted to people from ticks and livestock animals. The girl had a high fever (38.1 °C), severe headache, fatigue, abdominal pain, joint pain, vomiting blood and bleeding from the nose.

Twelve people who are her close relatives and are said to have come into close contact with the victim have also been picked up and isolated at the same health facility, while awaiting the results of the blood samples drawn from them. The surveillance network has been intensified within the settlement area for more contacts to be traced.

Photo: Hyalomma ticks are the principal vector of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever.

Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever is a disease caused by a tick-borne virus. The virus is widespread in Asia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Madagascar.

Prevention is by avoiding tick bites, but also agricultural, slaughterhouse, and veterinarians are at risk of catching the disease through contact with animals. Human-to-human transmission is also possible.

The virus may have evolved around 1500-1100 BC. It is thought that changing climate and agricultural practices near this time could be behind its evolution. In 1944, Soviet scientists first identified the disease they called Crimean hemorrhagic fever in Crimea.

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