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Papers of the Week

2019 Nov

Med Mal Infect



Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever: An update.


Fillâtre P, Revest M, Tattevin P
Med Mal Infect. 2019 Nov; 49(8):574-585.
PMID: 31607406.


Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) is a severe form of hemorrhagic fever caused by a virus of the genus Nairovirus. The amplifying hosts are various mammal species that remain asymptomatic. Humans are infected by tick bites or contact with animal blood. CCHF has a broad geographic distribution and is endemic in Africa, Asia (in particular the Middle East) and South East Europe. This area has expanded in recent years with two indigenous cases reported in Spain in 2016 and 2018. The incubation period is short with the onset of symptoms in generally less than a week. The initial symptoms are common to other infectious syndromes with fever, headache, myalgia and gastrointestinal symptoms. The hemorrhagic syndrome occurs during a second phase with sometimes major bleeding in and from the mucous membranes and the skin. Strict barrier precautionary measures are required to prevent secondary and nosocomial spread. CCHF may be documented by PCR detection of the virus genome during the first days after the onset of illness, and then by serological testing for IgM antibodies as from the 2nd week after infection. Patient management is mainly based on supportive care. Despite a few encouraging retrospective reports, there is no confirmed evidence that supports the use of ribavirin for curative treatment. Nevertheless, the World Health Organization continues to recommend the use of ribavirin to treat CCHF, considering the limited medical risk related to short-term treatment. The prescription of ribavirin should however be encouraged post-exposure for medical professionals, to prevent secondary infection.