SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Authorities in Kirkuk on Sunday announced the first case of Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) in the province.
The severe disease mainly strikes farm and slaughterhouse workers. The disease normally occurs through bites from infected ticks or from direct contact with infected blood and tissue from livestock. Human to human transmission, through exposure to contaminated blood, is more rare.
Director of Health in Kirkuk Nabil Hamdi told the state news agency INA that the first case was recorded in a 47-year-old butcher in the province.
“The patient’s condition is stable,” he said.
The disease has been endemic to Iraq since 1979, according to the World Health Organizations (WHO). At times, small outbreaks have been reported, with the last outbreak happening in 2021 with 18 cases confirmed in Thi-qar and Ninawa Governorates.
Iraq has recorded at least 24 cases of the disease so far, according to general director of health in the Iraqi health ministry Riadh al-Halfi.
There is no vaccine against the disease, which causes dizziness, high fever, muscle pain and vomiting. A body rash and bleeding from the bowels and gums, often accompanied by hepatitis and pulmonary failure, follow in severe cases.
According to the World Health organisation, CCHF can be treated but recovery is slow. If treatment is not provided in time, death can occur in the second week of illness.
The mortality rate can reach 30 percent from the disease, which was first identified in Crimea in 1944 and later appeared in Congo, according to Reuters.