A deadly virus that kills third of patients surges through Europe with a warning issued

Holidaymakers have been warned to be on high alert after a severe illness, which kills around a third of people infected, has been detected in Spain.

An urgent health alert has been issued as a deadly virus, which claims the lives of about one-third of those it infects, is sweeping through Europe. Holidaymakers heading to Spain are being cautioned to remain vigilant due to the outbreak of(CCHF), as reported by the Travel Health Pro website.

The virus is spread through tick bites or direct contact with the blood or tissues from infected ticks, humans, and animals. Symptoms appear abruptly and can include high fever, severe muscle pain, dizziness, neck and backache, headaches, eye redness, and light sensitivity.

Other signs of the illness are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, and in advanced cases, quick deterioration of kidney function and sudden liver failure.

The Spanish Castile and Leon Ministry of Health has confirmed that the patient affected by the virus is currently receiving treatment in hospital and is in a serious yet stable condition, reports the Express US.

Their statement read: “The patient remains admitted, stable in serious condition, at the Salamanca Hospital, where the protocolized epidemiological and care measures have been adopted. The confirmed case is an elderly man who is admitted to the Salamanca Hospital with a clinical picture compatible with CCHF.

“He has a tick bite and remains stable, although with the clinical severity that this pathology implies, with the isolation measures and protection of health professionals provided for these situations.” Spain’s health authority has issued guidance on preventative measures to avoid CCHF infection.

The advisory reads: “Regarding the prevention of bites by these insects, health authorities remind us of the importance of wearing appropriate clothing and footwear during outings in the countryside, as well as walking along paths and using repellents for both people and pets.”

It also recommends that: “Likewise, it must be insisted that any ticks that may have attached must be removed as soon as possible and appropriately, preferably by health professionals.”

CCHF virus, originally spotted in Crimea (then known as Crimean fever) in 1944, and later in the Belgian Congo (today Democratic Republic of the Congo) in 1956, was first reported in Spain in ticks in 2010. From then till August 2022, the Spanish Ministry of Health has reported a total of 12 human cases and four casualties in Spain.

Travel Health Pro elaborated: “The virus exists in nature in domestic and wild animals including horses, donkeys, goats, cattle, sheep, and pigs. The virus is usually transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected tick, or by direct contact with infected animal/human bodily fluids.”

“Exposure to the virus is also possible from contact with blood from crushing an infected tick. Camping and hiking are risk factors for exposure to tick bites. The incubation period is between one and 13 days.” It warned that the illness is fatal in almost a third of cases: “Case fatality rate is approximately 30 percent.”

According to the World Health Organisation, symptoms of CCHF include:

* Fever.

* Headache.

* Muscle aches.

* Nausea.

* Vomiting.

* Diarrhoea.

* Abdominal pain.

* Severe dizziness.

* Back pain.

* Red eyes.

* Bleeding from the nose, mouth, or gums.

* Internal bleeding.

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