A man in Spain has been diagnosed and hospitalised with Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) after being bitten by a tick, reports The Sun.
The virus is reported to be deadly and makes its victims bleed from the eyes. It also supposedly kills 30 percent of those it infects.
The patient, who is unnamed, was hospitalised last week in Leon, in Spain’s North West.
CCHF is endemic in many countries in Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. It was reportedly first discovered in Crimea (Eastern Europe) in the year 1944 and therefore was initially named Crimean haemorrhagic fever.
But in 1969 it was also found to be the cause of illness in the Congo, which was why the illness was renamed to Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever.
In recent years, outbreaks have also been reported in Russia, Turkey, Iran, Albania, Pakistan, and southern Africa.
The illness is said to be caused by a tick-borne virus (Nairovirus) and can be carried by ticks. It can also be picked up from cattle, goats, and sheep.
The mortality rate for CCHF is 30 percent, states the WHO.
However, according to the authorities in Spain the patient “remains in a stable condition, despite the clinical severity that this pathology implies.”
In March this year, a British woman was diagnosed with CCHF, after she had travelled to Central Asia. This was reported to be the UK’s fourth case since 2012.
She was reportedly diagnosed in Cambridge and received treatment at the Royal Free Hospital in London.
Prior to the case that was detected in Cambridge, two other cases of CCHF were also reported in the UK, stated the Sun.
The last case was in 2014, and prior to that, it was in 2012.
After a person is bitten by an infected tick, it could take one to three days before any symptoms appear. However, the incubation period is said to be five to six days and can be up to 13 days – if an individual comes into contact with infected blood or body tissues.
Symptoms of the infection include bleeding, particularly of the eyes and on the skin, fever, mood swings, confusion, aches, dizziness, headache, sore eyes, neck pain and stiffness, muscle aches, and sensitivity to light.
Those infected with the virus may also experience stomach aches, sore throat, diarrhea, sickness, and vomiting, reported The Sun.
After two to four days of being infected, mood swings and confusion are said to be replaced by sleepiness and depression.
Other signs can include:
• A fast heart rate
• Enlarged glands and a rash (caused by bleeding into the skin)
• Severe nosebleeds and bleeding gums
Those severely ill with the infection will suffer rapid kidney failure, and sudden liver and heart failure. This is supposed to take place around five days after falling ill.
The illness can be transmitted to humans via ticks, or if humans come in contact with infected animal blood.
Human-to-human transmission is also possible. This happens when a person comes into contact with the blood and bodily fluids of a person infected with CCHF.
According to The Sun, signs of infection often present suddenly, and many of those who succumb to the virus do so within two weeks of the diagnosis.
Earlier in March this year, Dr Susan Hopkins, the UK Health Security Agency’s chief medical advisor is reported to have said that the virus “does not spread easily between people and the overall risk to the public is very low.”
Treatment for those who have the illness includes careful attention to the patients’ fluid intake.
The balance of electrolytes also needs to be monitored, say the experts at the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in the US.
The antiviral drug ribavirin is reported to be used on some patients to help with their recovery, as it’s said the virus is sensitive to this drug.