What are tick bite and Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever?

A single tick bite causes only mild signs and symptoms such as redness, swelling or skin tenderness, without causing pain. However, some ticks infect disease-causing microorganisms. Generally, the tick must remain attached to the skin for at least 24 hours to spread the disease. It is very important to find the difference for this.

Until now, 20 different diseases transmitted to humans by ticks have been described. As a result of the researches, it is reported that the most common disease transmitted by tick bites is Lyme disease. Ticks-borne diseases include deadly ones such as Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic
fever and rocky-diameter spotted fever.



What is Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever?

Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever is a deadly infectious disease transmitted by ticks, with fever and bleeding. The disease agent is a virus that has the same name as the disease. Crimean Congo virus is the most dangerous tick-borne virus in the world. It is not a common disease and therefore does not pose a significant public health threat. However, it has important effects on healthcare personnel, especially in countries where health services are insufficient. Because although the tick is an important vector in the transmission of the disease, more advanced secondary cases are spread through human-to-human transmission. The disease is transmitted from person to person, often as a result of skin or mucosal exposure to virus-containing blood and body fluids. In 2006, an epidemic occurred in the black sea region of our country and dozens of people caught the Crimean Congo fever.

Crimean Congo fever begins with nonspecific fever that progresses to hemorrhagic disease. Certain precautions are essential to limit the spread of the infection. Some of these measures are;

• To comply with universal hygiene rules in the care of patients
• Taking timely infection control measures
• It can be listed as applying supportive treatment to healthcare professionals after exposure.

In addition to these practices, community-based control measures such as the use of pesticides to control the tick population are required to reduce the spread of the disease and prevent its further occurrence in the community.


What are the symptoms of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever?

Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever shows initial symptoms such as sudden onset headache, dizziness, high fever, low back pain, joint pain, abdominal pain and vomiting. Red spots on the eyes, face, throat and palate are common symptoms. Jaundice and, in severe cases, confusion may accompany these symptoms.

In more advanced stages, severe bruising on the skin due to subcutaneous hemorrhages, severe nosebleeds and uncontrolled bleeding at the injection sites are seen. Bleeding can be seen in internal organs as well as skin and mucosa. Internal bleeding may result in collapse of the bloodstream or shock syndrome. In the second week of the disease, liver, kidney, or circulatory impairment can result in death. According to studies, it has been found that the disease is fatal at a rate of almost 50%.


How is the treatment of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever?

The treatment of the disease is primarily done for supportive purposes. It is important to correct fluid and electrolyte disturbances, oxygen support and appropriate treatment of secondary infections. The active virus is limited to an antiviral drug called ribavirin and is tried to be treated.


What should be done when a tick bites?

It is of great importance to remove the tick promptly and carefully. For this, it is necessary to go to the nearest health institution without wasting time. Gloves are worn and the process is started to remove the tick. Catching as deep as possible and from the point closest to the tick’s mouth is important for removing the tick without any residue, especially the head and mouth parts. A clean fine-tipped tweezer or forceps is used for this. The tick is removed in a slow, continuous upward motion without gently pulling and curling. The tick should never be held with bare hands, squeezed by tweezers or hands, or twisted. After removal, hands and the bite area are washed with soap and hot water and disinfected with alcohol.

To remove ticks, substances such as petroleum jelly, nail polish, peppermint oil or hot matches should never be used. Because such substances can cause the infected fluids contained in the tick to be released into the skin. If the tick came out from the place where it stuck, it is important to store it in a container and store it in the freezer, and to examine the tick by the doctor for any symptoms that may appear later.


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