CCHF case illustrates risks, insights into hemorrhagic fever treatment

The life cycle of CCHF | Graphic courtesy of the CDC.

The death of a U.S. soldier from Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) in 2009 is a much-needed reminder of important measure that must be taken when caring for patients with hemorrhagic fever viruses, Clinician's Biosecurity News said today.

Unlike other viruses, hemorrhagic fever viruses such as CCHF and Ebola are harder to transmit as they do not  travel from patient to patient via the air, but instead are emitted in infected bodily fluids. 

Stationed in Afghanistan, the solider was receiving medical care for fever and gastrointestinal distress. After being misdiagnosed with gastroenteritis, he was admitted to a hospital when his condition worsened. He would later succumb to CCHF. 

A test for the virus was conducted, but by the time results had come back positive, the soldier had developed multiple organ dysfunction requiring a respirator and dialysis.

Tracing of 90 individuals who came into contact with the patient was required, and two of those started to show minor symptoms. Early detection helped them recover.

Lapses in management can be dangerous in the cases of hemorrhagic fever viruses, including Ebola, Marburg, Lassa and CCHF. Those at greatest risk are health care workers, the report said. 

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