Madrid regional health authorities confirmed two cases of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever had been detected in the Spanish capital, after receiving the results of tests from the National Microbiology Centre.

Regional health authorities said in a statement that it was the first home-grown, non-imported case of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever in Western Europe.

A 62-year old man died on August 25 in Madrid’s Gregorio Marañón University Hospital, having been admitted first to the Infanta Leonor Hospital, close to the Vicálvaro district in the south-east of the city.

The second patient is an intensive care nurse at that first hospital who was infected by the virus whilst caring for the 62-year old man. She was moved in a special ambulance last night to the infectious disease wing of the La Paz-Carlos III Hospital, for treatment

A further 200 people who came into contact with the two infected patients are being checked, and some confined to their homes, but so far no new cases have been detected.

“Everything points to the origin of the illness in the first case being in the tick bite”, said a statement by regional health authorities: “which the patient himself referred [to a doctor] following a walk in the countryside in place in Castilla y León, and that the nurse became infected on coming into contact with his bodily fluids whilst treating him in the intensive care unit of the Infanta Leonor Hospital”.

The regional health department told The Spain Report that the town where the male patient had been for a walk in the countryside was Ávila (Castilla y León).

The nurse’s colleagues reported her symptoms to public health authorities.

According to the World Health Organisation, “Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) is a widespread disease caused by a tick-borne virus (Nairovirus) of the Bunyaviridae family” and is “endemic in Africa, the Balkans, the Middle East and Asian countries south of the 50th parallel north – the geographical limit of the principal tick vector”.

It has a 10%-40% mortality rate.

The Centre for Disease Control in the US says the hemorrhagic fever “was first characterized in the Crimea in 1944 and given the name Crimean hemorrhagic fever”.

“Transmission to humans occurs through contact with infected ticks or animal blood. CCHF can be transmitted from one infected human to another by contact with infectious blood or body fluids.”