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Travel health information for people travelling abroad from the UK

Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever in South Africa

06 Feb 2017

ProMedMailLink has reported 2 unrelated confirmed cases of Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) in 2017.

The first case, a 53 year old male farmer from Mamre in the Western Cape Province of South Africa, was reported on 6 January 2017.  The case presented at his district hospital 4 days after onset of symptoms, he was then referred to a secondary hospital in Cape Town with differential diagnosis and eventually admitted to a tertiary referral hospital. The case entered the recovery phase on day 9.

The second case, a 58 year old farmer from Van Wyksvlei in the Northern Cape Province. The case complained of headache and muscle aches on 3 January 2017 and was treated with antibiotics for tick bite fever. However, on 7 January he was admitted to hospital in Kimberley with worsening symptoms where he was isolated on suspicion of CCHF and died on 8 January 2017.

On average, 5 cases of CCHF are recorded in South Africa each year, although none occurred in 2016.

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. Avoidance of tick bites is essential in risk areas.

• Further information on CCHF