Emergencies preparedness, response

2000 - Acute haemorrhagic fever syndrome in Afghanistan

19 June 2000

Disease Outbreak Reported

An outbreak of acute haemorrhagic fever syndrome has been reported from an isolated village in Gulran district, Afghanistan. Disease symptoms are compatible with Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF). An international team, coordinated by WHO, arrived in the affected area on 16 June to control and investigate this outbreak. The team comprises experts from the WHO Collaborating Centre at the National Institute of Virology (NIV-South Africa), Epicentre (France) and WHO.

Preliminary findings indicate that cases began at the beginning of May and are continuing to occur. Twenty-five suspect cases including 15 deaths were identified by the team. Samples were collected and transported to NIV where diagnostic laboratory tests will be performed to establish the aetiology of the outbreak.

The team has provided basic protective materials (gloves, masks), disinfectants (chlorine bleach) and instructions for their use in caring for patients with bleeding symptoms. An isolation area has been identified in the hospital in Herat to deal with haemorrhagic patients and will be equipped by WHO. Training in barrier nursing will be provided to medical and nursing staff.