Deadly Virus Could Threaten Europe Amid Worsening Climate Change
COVID-19 isn’t yet done wreaking havoc worldwide and instead continues to mutate. In Europe, a deadly virus is on the prowl and is threatening the continent with the help of climate change.
New Deadly Virus to Fear
Due to climate change, Europe is experiencing warmer temperatures. This situation makes it perfect for ticks to multiply and spread their deadly virus across the continent. These parasites carry a virus that causes Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever or CCHF, which results in death.
Ticks spread this deadly disease and are usually found in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and the Balkans. The worsening climate change helps these parasites to move up the continent and could eventually reach Europe, according to scientists.
Researchers have disseminated the probable expanse of CCHF. The World Health Organization (WHO) listed it as one of its 9 “priority diseases.”
The disease starts spreading already, wherein Spain had a reported case last year. It detected its initial CCHF cases in 2011 and 2016. A man died in the country after contracting the disease following a tick bite.
What is Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever?
In 1944, Crimea detected the first Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever or CCHF. As the name implies, the disease started in the region. It’s due to a tick-borne virus called Nairovirus that can cause acute viral haemorrhagic fever outbreaks.
Symptoms include headaches, vomiting, back and joint pain, stomach ache, and high fever with a mortality rate of 10% to 40%. The deadly virus could also cause mood swings, sensory perceptions, and jaundice.
With the progression of the illness, the patient will experience intense severe bruising, nosebleeds, and excessive bleeding at injection sites. These symptoms start and are usually noticeable during the fourth day of illness and last for at least two weeks.
Carriers of the Deadly Virus, Nairovirus
Furry and feathery animals such as dogs, cats, goats, cattle, sheep, and birds can have ticks that carry Nairovirus. Humans can acquire the disease from tick bites or getting in touch with the infected animal’s blood or tissue during and after slaughter.
The virus’ incubation period in tick-bitten humans can generally last between 3 and 9 days. The infected person can spread the virus to other people through blood contact, secretions, or other bodily fluids.
An infected person can recover in about the 9th or 10th day after the illness but will have a slow recovery. On the other hand, those who concede to the disease, die in the second week of sickness, on average. The extent of symptoms relies on how the individual acquired the virus.
Protection from the Carriers
Animals are the leading carriers of ticks that cause the infection. Pet owners must ensure their animals are always clean and free from these parasites. People must wear long sleeves and trousers with light colours to spot the ticks easily when going to bushy or grassy areas.
Use sprays, repellents, and other tools for getting rid of ticks in your clothes, house, or skin to remove them safely. Those who work in the farm or slaughterhouses must wear protective gloves and clothes when handling animals.
If bitten by a tick, the person can seek treatment with the antiviral drug called ribavirin. A patient can use it orally or through intravenous formulations which is also beneficial.
Image Source: NIAID/WikimediaCommons