Outbreak of the Crimean Congo fever

Several times the Crimean Congo fever has already broken out in Afghanistan, with intervals of mostly several years and so far only in rural areas. The current outbreak of highly contagious viral disease, however, is located in a more densely populated area around Herat. 28 people have already become infected; eight of them have not survived the disease. Depending on the virus strain, up to 50 percent of those infected die after the outbreak of Crimean Congo fever.

Cap Anamur has been involved in a training project for midwives and nurses in Herat for six years and has now put in place relief at short notice: we have made the building, which we used for administrative and educational purposes, available to the health department. With its eight rooms, it offers enough space to set up an isolation ward here. The infected patients need to be quarantined as quickly as possible and the district hospital in Herat has no premises that could have been converted.

In addition, our on-site team has provided the most important materials that can help protect ward personnel from infection: protective clothing, masks, gloves, goggles, disinfectants and enough bags and containers to dispose of contaminated supplies. “We hope to curb the virus by providing immediate patient isolation,” says Faisal Haiadri, our logistics specialist for Afghanistan.

Background: Crimean Congo fever 

The first flu-like symptoms, such as nausea, fever, chills, headache and pains in the limbs are usually abrupt. In some cases, the viral disease takes a hemorrhagic course: It comes to bleeding, which can cause a multi-organ failure and finally death. How deadly the virus is, depends on the virus strain and varies between two and 50 percent. The therapy takes place in an isolation ward because of the high risk of infection. It deals mainly with the symptoms and tries to secure the vital signs of the patient.

The Crimean Congo fever occurs in countries such as Bulgaria, Hungary and Turkey, in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq, and in many countries in Asia and Africa. The transmission takes place mainly by tick bites. Other transmission routes are the so-called smear infection from person to person or animal to human, so a transmission of pathogens by touching an object or animal and the spread of a droplet infection.