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Climate Change Propels Spread of Deadly CCHF Virus in Europe

Due to the recent severe heatwave affecting the region, the United Kingdom and various parts of Europe are now becoming an ideal habitat for ticks that carry the Crimean–Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) virus, which can be fatal in the worst cases. Warmer temperatures have contributed to this situation. Even the lockdown measures implemented to prevent the spread of the recent Covid-19 pandemic will not effectively halt the transmission of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, as stated exclusively by an expert to The Mirror this week.  Climate Change Propels Spread of Deadly CCHF Virus in Europe.

A common symptom of the deadly Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) virus is an uncomfortable rash that can affect various parts of the body. CCHF is a disease caused by a tickborne virus and is classified as one of the nine “priority diseases” by the World Health Organization (WHO) due to its potential for widespread public health risk.

Emerging Epidemic: CCHF Virus Spreading Rapidly in Europe as Climate Changes

Scientists believe that as a consequence of climate change, the tickborne disease, which is typically found in warmer regions like the Balkans, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, may soon spread throughout Europe. New cases of the virus are currently emerging in EU countries, and it has already claimed lives in Iraq, Namibia, and Pakistan. The Mirror has highlighted nine distinctive symptoms, including stiffness, neck pain, and fever.

Climate Change Propels Spread of Deadly CCHF Virus in Europe

The virus causes sudden symptoms such as fever, dizziness, pain in the head, neck, back, and eyes, sensitivity to light, and has a fatality rate of approximately 30 percent. In various outbreaks, between one and four out of ten cases prove fatal, according to the WHO. CCHF has been designated as one of the WHO’s nine “priority diseases,” and experts have expressed concerns about its potential spread.

Climate Change Drives Expansion of Deadly CCHF Virus in Europe

Professor James Wood, who addressed Parliament’s Science, Innovation, and Technology Committee last week, stated, “It’s not a matter of if, but when, in all likelihood.” Additionally, a discomforting rash is another sign that can develop on the skin, throat, and mouth. According to the EU’s estimation, the disease causes approximately 500 deaths annually and is endemic in Africa, the Balkans, the Middle East, and Asian countries south of the geographical limit of the primary tick vector, which extends as far north as Mongolia, as stated by the UN health agency.

The diseases on this list are considered the greatest risks to public health by the organization. “Given the way diseases emerge, there is a risk of spread.” The WHO’s website mentions clinical signs such as tachycardia (fast heart rate), lymphadenopathy (enlarged lymph nodes), and a petechial rash (a rash caused by bleeding into the skin) on internal mucosal surfaces, such as the mouth and throat, as well as on the skin. Climate Change Propels Spread of Deadly CCHF Virus in Europe.

CCHF Virus on the Rise in Europe: Climate Change Fuels its Spread

In April, virologist Ali Mirazimi from Sweden’s Karolinska Institute stated to Modern Diplomacy that ticks carrying the virus were “moving up through Europe due to climate change, with longer and drier summers.” The presence of this deadly disease was already reported in Spain last year, indicating that the warnings from scientists are not hypothetical but pertain to the ongoing situation in Europe. The expert also mentioned that a lockdown would be ineffective in preventing the spread of CCHF, as respiratory transmission, unlike the global Coronavirus pandemic, is unlikely in this case.

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