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Ticks—More to Worry About

Posted by Stuart Rose on

Ticks of the genus Hyalomma. Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever

We all know that ticks can spread Lyme disease and travelers to Europe and Russia may be familiar with tick-borne encephalitis. Another tick-borne illness has now appeared in Spain with the report of the first case of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF). See NY Times September 5, 2016.

What is CCHF? It is a serious viral illness normally found in Africa, the Middle East, the Balkans and Central Asia south of Kazakhstan. A West African strain of the fever was first isolated from ticks feeding on Spanish red deer in 2011.

While the threat to travelers to Spain is low, the illness has a fatality rate of 30% and is highly contagious to health care workers.

Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever

The important point is this: Insect bites transmit a large variety of illnesses (some fatal) and all travelers should take measures to prevent bites by mosquitoes, ticks and flies.

Top photo by Alan R Walker

Lower photo courtesy of Centers for Disease Control/Dr. B.E. Henderson


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