A nosocomial outbreak of Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever at Tygerberg Hospital. Part I. Clinical features

Van Eeden P.J. ; Joubert J.R. ; Van De Wal B.W. (1985)

Article

The original publication is available at http://www.samj.org.za

Article

Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) is a rare disease in South Africa. From 1981 to September 1984, 8 sporadic primary cases were reported. An outbreak of CCHF in a large university hospital is described; of 8 patients diagnosed 2 died (the index and a secondary case). Four patients were seriously ill and 2 had a mild illness. Problems were encountered in diagnosing the disease, which presents initially with influenza-like symptoms, differing only in severity from influenza. However, petechiae and other manifestations of a bleeding tendency distinguished it from influenza in the later phase of the disease. Special investigations, especially those revealing leucopenia and thrombocytopenia, were critically important in early diagnosis. The dilemma of handling this highly contagious disease is that definite virological diagnosis is time-consuming and is conducted in only one high-security laboratory 1600 km distant. A further case was admitted 3 months later from a different locality and confirmed virologically but no secondary cases could be confirmed or traced.

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