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Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever in Afghanistan

09 November 2023

The World Health Organization reports continued transmission of Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) in Afghanistan. From the beginning of 2023 to 23 October 2023, there have been 1 190 suspected cases, including 110 deaths in 15 provinces. More than half of these have been reported from Kabul and Balkh provinces. Laboratory testing of 1 052 samples of suspected cases confirmed 370 positive.

CCHF is a potentially fatal tick-borne viral haemorrhagic fever. It is found in over 30 countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Eastern/Southern Europe.

Advice for Travellers

CCHF is spread by ticks infected from an animal reservoir such as cattle, sheep and goats. It can also be transmitted by having contact with the blood or body fluids of an infected animal or person.

CCHF is extremely rare in travellers. Those with an increased risk are those visiting an endemic region who may:

  • have an increased likelihood of tick bites during activities such as hiking, camping in rural areas or visiting farms
  • be involved in animal slaughter, for example during religious or cultural events
  • be travelling for veterinary or medical work reasons

Travellers with an increased risk of infection should be aware of the disease and prevent transmission by:

  • practicing tick bite avoidance measures when partaking in outdoor activities
  • following appropriate infection control procedures if working in a health care setting
  • wearing gloves and other protective clothing while handling animals or their tissues, notably during slaughtering, butchering and culling procedures

There is no vaccine against CCHF available for use in the UK.

For further information see the Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever page.