Updated 18 September 2014
A farmer from Namibia died in the Life Rosepark hospital in Bloemfontein after being bitten by a tick and contracting the highly infectious Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever.
Die Volksblad reports that a sheep farmer from Namibia, Kobie Hoffman (40) died on Tuesday 16 September 2014 from Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF).
CCHF is, like Ebola, a viral haemorrhagic fever and the symptoms are similar. In both cases the patient needs to be quarantined to prevent the spread of the virus.
Mr Hoffman was in Upington to attend a wedding when he started feeling ill and was taken to the emergency room at the local hospital.
The doctor gave him an injection for tonsillitis and sent him home, Die Burger reported. By Friday, during the wedding and feeling worse, he returned to the hospital where Congo fever was dismissed since his blood platelet count was normal.
That evening, Dirk Kok reports for OFM, Hoffman was flown to Bloemfontein by air ambulance service Aerocare. The pilot and paramedic on board wore special medical suits to pretect them from contracting the highly contagious disease.
Despite the hospital staff’s best efforts, Hoffman passed away on Tuesday evening.
According to the print edition of Die Burger (18 September 2014), family are now struggling to get his body back to Namibia as the corpse needs to be sealed to prevent transmission. Like with Ebola, human-to-human transmission can occur from close contact with the blood, secretions, organs, or other bodily fluids of infected persons, even after death.
People with CCHF suffer from flu-like symptoms and haemorrhaging. According to the WHO, CCHF [virus] is primarily transmitted to people from ticks and livestock animals.
The virus is transmitted mainly by _Hyalomma_ ticks, which have distinctive brown and white bands on their legs and are known in South Africa as bont-legged ticks (Afrikaans: bontpootbosluise). _Hyalomma_ ticks are widely distributed in South Africa, but tend to be most numerous in the drier, north-western parts of the country in the Karoo, western Free State, Northern Cape and North-West Province, generally in the rural areas.
The WHO reports there are about 30 species of _Hyalomma_ and that CCHF [virus] is endemic in all of Africa, the Balkans, the Middle East and in Asia south of the 50 degree parallel north.
Congo fever is, like Ebola, a viral haemorrhagic disease and the symptoms and disease progression share many similarities.
CCHF virus can be responsible for severe outbreaks in humans, but it is not pathogenic for ruminants, their amplifying host. It is the commonest viral haemorrhagic fever occurring in South Africa, with between 5 and 25 cases reported annually.
There is no vaccine available for either people or animals. Up to 30 per cent of patients who contract CCHF will die, but the prognosis is favourable in the remaining 70 per cent.