Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever case confirmed
A case of Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) was confirmed in a 58 year old man from Kimberley, Northern Cape province in March 2019. The man was bitten by a number of ticks, presumably around the Koopmansfontein area, a day before falling ill. The patient was admitted to the Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital. The diagnosis was confirmed by laboratory testing at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases. Follow up testing indicated the development of an immune response to the virus.
This is the second case of CCHF reported in South Africa for 2019 to date. The previous case was reported in a veterinarian from the Free State.
The disease has been known in South Africa since 1981, but is rare in humans and typically only a handful of cases are reported per year. CCHF is caused by a virus that is mostly transmitted to humans through bites of the hyalomma tick (or “bontpoot” tick), although exposures related to contact with infected animal tissues and blood have also been reported. CCHF is mostly reported in farmers, veterinarians, abattoir workers, hunters and other individuals who are at higher risk of exposure to the hyalomma ticks. It is recommended that insect repellents containing DEET are used to reduce tick bites.
The ticks that transmit the CCHF virus are different to those that transmit the bacteria that causes tick bite fever, a common infection in southern Africa, readily responsive to antibiotics. For more information on CCHF in South Africa, click here