On the 8 September 2016 the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) published a rapid risk assessment in response to the Crimean–Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) cases in Spain.
CCHF virus has been detected in ticks collected in the province of Caceres in the northern part of the autonomous Community of Extremadura which borders Portugal. The ECDC concluded that whilst the probability of CCHF virus infection in Spain remains low, however sporadic cases are possible. Further human-to-human transmission in hospital settings can be significantly reduced through enhanced disease awareness and early diagnosis, alongside rigorous infection control policies and procedures.
CCHF risk groups should be informed about the mode of transmission and urged to comply with advice on the prevention of tick bites. Those considered at risk includes:
- People working in close proximity to animals, especially livestock (e.g. agricultural workers in animal husbandry or slaughterhouse workers, veterinarians).
- People exposed to tick-to-human transmission through their outdoor activities (e.g. hunters, forest workers, hikers).
- Healthcare providers at risk of human-to-human transmission.
Advice for Travellers
CCHF is a low risk for the average traveller; it is spread by infected ticks from a reservoir usually in animals such as cattle, sheep and goats. CCHF can also be transmitted by contact with the blood of an infected animal. Avoidance of tick bites is essential in risk areas.
For further information please see: Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever