A nine-year-old Uganda girl was found dead in a pool of her own blood due to a tick bite. When she was pronounced dead, she was found to have traces of the Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF), a rare tick-borne virus.
The epidemic has only touched parts of Asia, Africa and the Middle East; but poses a threat to the rest of the world where agriculture is a means of business. The mortality rate is 30 percent with fatalities occurring two weeks after diagnoses.
CCHF has been known to affect goats, sheep and cattle. "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." (World Health Organization).
Human-to-human transmission or animal-to-human transmission of the tick virus can occur if the animal is infected.
Symptoms of CCHF:
- Muscle Aches
- Neck Pain
- Sore Throat
"The antiviral drug ribavirin has been used to treat CCHF infection with apparent benefit. Both oral and intravenous formulations seem to be effective." (WHO)
To protect yourself from tick-borne illnesses, remember to wear bright long-sleeve clothing outside to easily spot a tick on the skin; and thoroughly check for tick bites after being outside in the garden or farm.