Global Alert and Response (GAR)

1998 - Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever in Afghanistan

08 May 1998

Disease Outbreak Reported

Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever has been diagnosed in cases occurring in a village in the district of Rustaq, Province of Takar in mid-March 1998. A total of 19 cases of which 12 were fatal were reported. Rustaq district, in the north-eastern part of Afghanistan, was severely affected by the earthquake in early February and access was further complicated by melting snow. However, representatives from United Nations and non-governmental organizations were on site to provide assistance and notified WHO about the outbreak. The WHO country office organized with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and Médecins Sans Frontières the investigation and management of the cases. Blood specimens were shipped to the WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Special Pathogens at the Centre for Applied Medical Research, Public Health Laboratory Service, Porton Down,United Kingdom. Serological testing (IgG/IgM antibody) provided evidence for Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever virus infection. Other virological testing is in progress at Porton Down.

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