Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever in Pakistan (Update)
18 Oct 2016
The media continues to report deaths in Pakistan in patients suffering from Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) in 2016. CCHF is a deadly viral disease that spreads through tick-bites in animals and people.
On the 16 October 2016 a male died of CCHF at the Dow University of Health Sciences Ojha campus hospital. The current total of CCHF deaths in Karachi in 2016 is now 10. Over 75 CCHF cases have been admitted to hospitals in Karachi this year.
Advice for Travellers
The risk of travellers becoming infected or developing the disease is extremely low, unless there has been direct contact with ticks, infected animals or blood, bodily fluids from an infected person; travellers should avoid this type of exposure. Travellers at increased risk of exposure include those engaging in animal research/work, healthcare workers and others providing care for patients in the community, particularly where outbreaks of CCHF are occurring.
There is no safe and effective vaccine for use in humans. Avoidance of tick bites is the main preventive measure, especially during summer months when they are most active - usually Mar to Oct in the Middle East, Europe and Asia.
Minimise the risk by using insect repellents on the skin and clothing. Use clothing to cover the skin, i.e. long sleeves and long trousers with the bottoms tucked in boots. Inspect the body following possible exposure and remove ticks immediately.
Individuals who have travelled to areas where the disease is present and develop symptoms such as fever, headache or feeling generally unwell, must contact their general practitioner.