Authorities in Senegal are reporting a case of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF), a disease transmitted by ticks and infected animals that results in death in up to 40% of cases.
The Ministry of Health of Senegal said the case was confirmed in a 35-year-old butcher living in Guédiawaye, just northeast of Dakar, after he reported fever and flu-like symptoms. The man died last week.
Public health measures are being taken, according to an update from the World Health Organization (WHO).
CCHF, a hemorrhagic disease similar to Ebola, causes about 500 fatalities each year, according to WHO. It is endemic in all of Africa, as well as the Middle East and Asia. Its presence in eastern Europe was first identified in Crimea in the 1940s, with a later discovery making the connection to the same infection found in the Congo River basin.
About 70% of people diagnosed with CCHF have a history of a tick bite. Although the disease is transmitted to humans from ticks and animals, it’s possible for outbreaks of human-to-human cases to emerge, as was the case last year in Iraq. Uganda reported eight cases between June and December 2022.
Cases associated with butcher shops, including cattle, sheep, goats and ostrich are not uncommon, with WHO recommending masks and other personal protective gear for people who work as butchers. It’s also recommended that animals be quarantined and treated with flea and tick pesticides before slaughter.
There is not yet a vaccine to prevent CCHF, although one has been tried in eastern Europe on a small scale, WHO said.
Image: EPA/Patrick Pleul via WHO