What is nose-bleed fever and how does it spread? All you need to know about CCHFV

New Delhi, India Updated: Jun 06, 2022, 08:40 PM(IST)

Representative image. Photograph:( Others )

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The WHO said that it is endemic in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and the Balkans, CCHF's fatality rate is between 10 and 40 per cent 

Nose-bleed fever, also known as Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV), has caused panic after the recent detection of cases. In a report by AFP last week, the World Health Organization said that this year Iraq has recorded 19 deaths among 111 CCHF cases in humans. Recently, media reports mentioned that India has recorded two cases of nose-bleed fever, including the death of a 55-year-old woman. 

Cases rising in Iraq 

Haidar Hantouche, a health official in Dhi Qar province, said, "The number of cases recorded is unprecedented." The surge of cases in Iraq this year has shocked the officials since numbers far exceed recorded cases in the 43 years since the virus was first documented in the country in 1979. 

Only 16 cases resulting in seven deaths had been recorded in 2021 in his province, Hantouche said. But this year Dhi Qar has recorded 43 cases, including eight deaths. 

How does it spread? 

The Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever spreads, jumping from animals to humans. 

According to the World Health Organization, "Animals become infected by the bite of infected ticks." 

"The CCHF virus is transmitted to people either by tick bites or through contact with infected animal blood or tissues during and immediately after slaughter," the global health body added. 

What are the symptoms? 

WHO has listed some of the common symptoms of the rare nose-bleed fever infection, which are: Fever, chills, shudders, myalgia, headaches, nausea and vomits, abdominal pain and arthralgia. 

Is it fatal?

A report by AFP noted that the virus has no vaccine. According to medics, the start can be swift, causing severe bleeding both internally and externally and especially from the nose. It causes death in as many as two-fifths of cases. 

The WHO said that it is endemic in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and the Balkans, CCHF's fatality rate is between 10 and 40 per cent. 

'Mortality seems to be declining'

Ahmed Zouiten, who is the WHO's representative in Iraq said there were several "hypotheses" for the country's outbreak. They included the spread of ticks in the absence of livestock spraying campaigns during Covid in 2020 and 2021. 

As quoted by the news agency AFP, he said that "very cautiously, we attribute part of this outbreak to global warming, which has lengthened the period of multiplication of ticks." 

He further added that the "mortality seems to be declining" as the country had mounted a spraying campaign while new hospital treatments had shown "good results". 

Cases in India

India has recorded two cases of nose-bleed fever, including the death of a woman. As quoted by an India-based media outlet The New Indian Express in a report on June 4, top scientists of the Indian Council of Medical Research-National Institute of Virology (ICMR-NIV) stated that the country is fully equipped to handle the virus that can lead to an epidemic. 

In India, both cases were reported in the Western state of Gujarat.  Both the cases were reported from Bhavnagar in Gujarat in March and April respectively. 

Dr Pragya Yadav, who is the scientist and group leader of Maximum Containment Laboratory at NIV, Pune, told the paper. 

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