Congo Virus


Congo Virus

by Farhan Khalid


Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) is a viral infection that is often fatal and has been described and diagnosed in about 30 countries all over the world. Due to its widespread nature, it is extensively geographically distributed, given that it is one of the most crucial tick-borne viral diseases. This disease has been known to cause the most widespread global distribution of Hyalomma SPP ticks. Human beings become infected with this disease after being bitten by ticks. Exposure to ticks can be caused by a number of ways such as tick bites or by crushing the infected ticks. The disease is also transmitted via contact with a patient with CCHF during the acute phase of infection, or by contact with blood or tissues from viraemic livestock. [1]








The cause of this disease as mentioned is Hyalomma spp ticks and this causative organism is found in Asia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, the belt across central Africa and South Africa, and Madagascar. The causative organism is known to form colonies in livestock mammals such as cattle, goat and sheep. [1]


Symptoms of this disease include high fever, vomiting, diarrhea, some people also exhibit signs of hemorrhage signs. Throat pain is also one of the common discomforts experienced as a symptom of this condition. Mood swings and inability to focus on surroundings may also be experienced. There have been known cases in which patients feel sensitive to light and experience pain in the eyes. [3]


The disease needs to be diagnosed in its early stages in order for it to be treated effectively. The condition has been known to be diagnosed by enzyme-linked immunoassay and real-time reverse transcriptase PCR. Early diagnosis prevents potential nosocomial infections. Treatment should include an adequate attention to fluid balance and rectification of any electrolyte abnormalities present. Furthermore, hemodynamic support and oxygenation play an important part in treatment of the virus. Also, secondary infections should be treated effectively. [4] Recent studies have suggested Ribavirin as an effective agent against CCHF, although definitive studies are not available to support this. Ribavirin is available in oral and intravenous forms. [1]

Prevention Measures:

Preventive measures are often not very easy or useful as the spread of ticks cannot be controlled with ease. The infection of livestock animals with causative organisms often goes unnoticed which is why there is a need for proper monitoring and care of these animals. The use of acaricides, chemicals that intend to kill ticks, is another way to minimize the spread of the organism. Since it is those who handle livestock who are more prone to infection, there are a number of barrier preventions which minimize their chances of being infected.

In order to reduce the risk of tick-to-human transmission, it is best to wear protective, light coloured clothing to allow easy detection of ticks on the clothes. Approved acaricides and repellents should be used (chemicals intended to kill ticks) on clothing. Animal caregivers should seek to eliminate or control tick infestations on animals or in stables and barns.

In order to reduce the risk of animal-to-human transmission, it is best to wear gloves and other protective clothing while handling animals or their tissues.

In order to prevent human to human transmission, close physical contact with CCHF-infected persons should be avoided and protective equipment should be worn while taking care of infected people. [1]

Congo Virus and Pakistan:

In September 2010, an outbreak was reported in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. As record keeping was not maintained and diagnosis was not made in time, the extent of this outbreak was uncertain, however, some reports indicate over 100 cases, with a case-fatality rate above 10%. On July 11th 2014, another person was infected from [Crimean-] Congo hemorrhagic fever [CCHF] at the Hayatabad Medical Complex. [2] The lack of care and reasonable facilities to accommodate quality care for livestock animals is one of the foremost reasons for the extensive spread of this disease. Animals, especially sacrificial animals which are imported from other countries in preparation for Eid ul Adha should be closely monitored in order to control the spread of this disease. For precautionary purposes, it is best to use acaricides on animals as it minimizes the chances of infection of ticks. Animals should not be bought without careful investigation. It also lies upon the shoulders of the law enforcement and healthcare authorities to make certain that only healthy animals enter the country.


[1] Ergönül, Önder.’Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever’. The Lancet Infectious Diseases 6.4 (2006): 203-214. Web. 22 Sept. 2014.

[2] Khan, Hidayat. ‘Stemming Outbreaks: Eighth Patient Dies Of Congo Hemorrhagic Fever At HMC’. The Express Tribune 2014. Web. 22 Sept. 2014.

[3],. ‘WHO | Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever’. N.p., 2014. Web. 22 Sept. 2014.

[4], ‘Treatment | Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) | CDC’, 2014. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 26- Sep- 2014].

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