Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc.

Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF)


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF)

Mains level: NA


Central Idea

  • Europe is currently experiencing a heatwave and wildfires, leading to concerns about the spread of viruses that are typically not found in colder climates.
  • The WHO has issued an alert regarding the Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF), a potentially fatal infection transmitted by ticks.

What is CCHF?

  • CCHF is a viral haemorrhagic fever primarily transmitted by ticks.
  • It can also be contracted through contact with viraemic animal tissues during animal slaughter.
  • CCHF outbreaks can lead to epidemics with a high case-fatality ratio (10-40%) and pose challenges for prevention and treatment.

Transmission and Hosts

  • The virus exists in the tick family of insects.
  • Animals such as cattle, goats, sheep, and hares serve as amplifying hosts for the virus.
  • Humans can contract CCHF through contact with infected ticks or animal blood.
  • The virus can also be transmitted between humans through contact with infectious blood or body fluids.
  • Migratory birds can host ticks, allowing the virus to spread over long distances.

Symptoms and Treatment

  • Common symptoms of CCHF include fever, muscle aches, dizziness, neck and back pain, headache, sore eyes, and sensitivity to light.
  • Early symptoms may also include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and sore throat, followed by mood swings and confusion.
  • Later stages may involve sleepiness, depression, and lassitude.
  • There is no vaccine available for CCHF in humans or animals, and treatment focuses on managing symptoms.
  • The antiviral drug ribavirin has been used to treat CCHF infection with some apparent benefit.

Spread of CCHF in Europe

  • CCHF is endemic to Africa, the Balkan countries, the Middle East, and parts of Asia.
  • In 2016, Spain reported the first fatality from CCHF in Europe.
  • Scientists warn that CCHF, which can have a fatality rate between 10% and 40%, is spreading northward and westward in Europe.
  • Cases of CCHF have been reported in Spain, Russia, Turkey, and the UK.

Reasons for this spread

  • Disrupted temperature patterns due to climate change are creating favorable conditions for pathogens.
  • CCHF ticks are moving northward through Europe due to longer and drier summers caused by climate change.
  • Climate change contributes to the spread of diseases by expanding tick habitats, altering water habitats, and facilitating the movement of animals and human interactions.

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