For the first time, the Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus was detected in a cattle farm in the Pyrénées-Orientales. How is this virus caught? What are the symptoms ? TipsForWomens answers your questions.
For the first time in Europe, the Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus was detected on a cattle farm, in the Pyrénées-Orientales department. Transmitted by ticks, the virus was identified on October 6. The National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health Safety (ANSES) as well as Public Health Europe are calling on breeders, hikers and hunters to be vigilant.
No cases of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever detected in humans
In Europe, no cases have been recorded, but in Spain, a dozen people have already been infected with the virus. The latter is transmitted by the bite of a tick, such as Hyalomma recognizable by its two-colored legs, introduced by migratory birds. The disease can also be caught through contact with blood or fluids from contaminated humans or animals. On the other hand, according to the Pasteur Institute, the virus is not transmitted by air, nor by ingestion of raw milk products.
Breeders, farmers, hikers and in general anyone likely to frequent pastures or scrubland, particularly around the Mediterranean, are called to be vigilant, particularly between the months of April and July.
Climate change involves the emergence of new risks.
The establishment of Hyalomma ticks, already present in the south of the 🇫🇷, makes the appearance of new diseases possible, such as Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever.
It is necessary to anticipate this risk👇 pic.twitter.com/JufWFfnDu3
— Anses (@Anses_fr) June 1, 2023
Hunters are particularly urged to be vigilant when skinning small animals such as hares, and must wear gloves and a mask to protect themselves.
What are the symptoms ?
If you have been bitten by a tick, you must remove the insect if it is still present and monitor its general condition. If in the month following the bite, you notice the appearance of symptoms, you should consult a doctor quickly. For example, in humans, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever creates a flu-like syndrome accompanied by digestive disorders, which appears suddenly.
We find in particular:
- Muscle pain;
- Digestive disorders;
- Dizziness ;
- Stiffness and pain in the neck;
- Back pain;
- Eye sensitivity;
- Photophobia, which is discomfort caused by light.
Bleeding may occur in some cases, resulting from worsening fever. This then translates into a “hemorrhagic syndrome, the fatality rate of which reaches 30% in certain countries” underlines Anses.
How to prevent tick bites?
Whether it’s ticks Hyalomma or Ixodes ricinusvector of Lyme disease, it is possible to prevent tick bites and the diseases they transmit by the following measures, according to ANSES:
- When walking in nature, wear closed shoes and light-colored covering clothing to better spot ticks on the surface of the fabric;
- Avoid walking among tall grass, bushes and low branches and favor marked paths;
- If necessary, use skin repellents with marketing authorization (AMM), carefully respecting the recommendations for use;
- Inspect yourself when returning from your walks in the forest, in the scrubland and scrubland or in the garden, particularly at the level of the folds of the skin without forgetting the scalp;
- In the event of a bite, immediately remove the attached ticks using a tick remover, fine tweezers or, failing that, your nails and disinfect the wound;
- Monitor the sting area for several days and consult your doctor if you experience symptoms (redness, fever, etc.).
Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, a notifiable disease
Like tick-borne encephalitis or Ebola, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever is a notifiable disease. By being declared quickly, it allows the authorities to take the necessary control and prevention measures.
But it will not be looked for during a classic serological examination carried out after a tick bite. “A tick can contain around thirty pathogenic elements, whether viruses, bacteria or parasites. recalls Bertrand Pasquet, president of the Chronilyme association. “This can therefore modify the clinical picture, after an injection, in humans..
According to him, this problem is not sufficiently taken into account by the health authorities at present. “For them, no other pathology is really taken into account, apart from Lyme disease caused by the Borrelia bacteria or tick-borne encephalitis. As a result, few doctors prescribe suitable serologies, apart from these. But we see that there is in reality a whole set of tick-borne diseases, for which we are asking for more concrete consideration through the establishment of a dedicated national plan.”.
The risk of the appearance of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever is possible in Europe, according to ANSES, which calls, for its part, to “develop research” to find a vaccine against this virus, which does not exist to date.