Two cases of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) were confirmed last July in two men residing in the region of Leon d’El Bierzo, according to a report published on the website of the Ministry of Health and prepared by the Center for coordination of health alerts and emergencies.
According to the report, the first diagnosed case was that of a 49-year-old hunter with a history of bites from ticks of the Hyalomma variety, which transmits the disease, who began experiencing symptoms on July 12 and is currently in a stable situation after being admitted to a hospital in the Basque Country.
The second case, now known, is that of another 51-year-old man, diagnosed retrospectively on July 20, after dying on June 19 of an unknown cause with suspected poisoning by sulfur compounds.
After his death and after performing various tests, it was determined that he died of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever.
The CCHF virus is transmitted primarily by ticks of the genus Hyalomma, and person-to-person transmission can also occur through contact with the blood or secretions of a sick person.
The report from the Center for Health Alerts and Emergencies also indicates that studies have been carried out on ticks and wild and domestic animals to know the extent of the circulation, having been detected in large areas of Castilla y León, Castilla-La Mancha, Extremadura, and Andalusia. .
Moreover, they have recently been detected in animal serology studies carried out in Galicia and Catalonia.
The province of León and in particular the Bierzo region was considered at low risk, given the low presence of Hyalomma and the low prevalence of antibodies against the virus in wild and domestic animals in the serological studies carried out, in which it was about 1-2%.
Until 2021, only 10 cases had been detected in Spain and the detection of these two new cases grouped together over time and in a specific geographical area considered to be at low risk, where another case had also been detected in 2021, justifies the rapid risk assessment carried out. by the Health Alerts and Emergencies Coordination Centre.
On the other hand, the Center asked to intensify public health measures in the areas where the virus is present, especially in the area where cases have recently been detected, emphasizing recommendations to the population to prevention and management of tick bites, active and passive surveillance of cases, entomological study and circulation of the virus in animals and humans.