Tick-borne disease returns with spring, kills 5

May 16, 2012, Wednesday/ 10:45:00

The Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF), which is transmitted by tick bites and can be fatal, claimed five lives in Turkey on Tuesday with the arrival of spring.

Saim Şener, Nigar Orman and Ayşe Ortaacar from Kastamonu province were taken to Ankara Numune Hospital on Tuesday and died the same day from CCHF. A shepherd from Tokat and a farmer from Çorum also died from CCHF on Tuesday.

The disease mainly affects farm and slaughterhouse workers in the countryside in the Central Anatolia and Black Sea regions. The disease is normally transmitted through bites from infected ticks or via direct contact with infected blood and tissue in livestock.

Human-to-human transmission, through exposure to contaminated blood, is rare. However, ticks carrying the virus are multiplying faster than usual due to global warming and high temperatures.

There is no vaccine against the disease, which causes hemorrhage, high fever, muscle pain and vomiting, and it has a mortality rate of about 30 percent. A body rash and bleeding from the bowels and gums, often accompanied by renal failure, is observed in severe cases. CCHF was first identified in Crimea in 1944 and later appeared in the Congo.

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