Institut Pasteur, 36 avenue Pasteur, BP 220, Dakar, Sénégal
The virus that causes Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) is widespread in Europe, Asia, and Africa. It is a nairovirus of the Bunyaviridae family, which is transmitted by ticks. The natural viral reservoir consists of numerous wild animals and livestock. The virus is transmitted to humans by the bite of infected ticks, contact with the blood of an infected animal, or nosocomial transmission. Initial clinical signs are unspecific, with haemorrhages occurring by the fourth or fifth day. The case fatality ratio is 30%. The biology presents as extensive leukocytosis or leukopenia, an increase in cytolytic enzymes and cholestatic liver or muscular enzymes, and a disruption of the coagulation process. Diagnosis is made by serology, RT-PCR, and viral isolation. The antiviral drug ribavirin is recommended for the treatment of CCHF. Prevention measures are essential, particularly the prevention of nosocomial transmission--the source of numerous epidemics in humans.