Posts Tagged ‘hemorrhagic fever’

CCHFV in South Africa

1 February, 2013

I am indebted to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) in Johannesburg for their very informative newsletter, from which I culled this.

I would also like to very sincerely congratulate Professor Barry Schoub, a long-time former Director of the NICD, on his  African Society for Laboratory Medicine (ASLM) Lifetime Achievement Award!  Very well deserved.

Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever

Two cases of Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF)  acquired in South Africa have been laboratory confirmed  in January 2013.

On 1 January 2013, a 31-year-old male working as a  game warden on private game ranch near Jagersfontein  (Free State Province) presented with clinical features  suggestive of CCHF. The patient did not report any tick  bites or direct exposure to unprocessed meat or  slaughtering of animals. The Centre for Emerging and  Zoonotic Diseases of the NICD/NHLS confirmed infection  with CCHF virus by PCR and serology testing.

A second case of CCHF was laboratory confirmed on 12  January 2013 in a 44-year-old male hospitalised in  Bloemfontein, Free State Province. He had been on a  farm in Pomfret, North West Province (situated ±5 km  from the border with Botswana), where he was bitten by  a tick. Three days later he developed symptoms, and  presented with fever, rash, conjunctivitis and pharyngitis.  No laboratory-confirmed cases were identified in 2011- 2012.

Human CCHF cases have been reported annually  from South Africa since 1981, when it was first  recognised in the country; between 0 and 20 cases of  CCHF are diagnosed each year. Through nearly thirty  years of passive surveillance, a total of 187 cases has  been laboratory confirmed. Although cases have been  reported from all of the nine provinces, more than half of  the cases originate from the semi-arid areas of Northern  Cape Province (31.5% of cases) and Free State Province  (23% of cases).

CCHF infection is generally asymptomatic in many species  of wildlife (including antelope) and livestock animals  (including cattle, sheep, goats, hares and ostriches).  Humans  become  infected  sporadically  by  ticks,  particularly  Hyalomma ticks, which are both reservoirs  and vectors for CCHF virus. Other modes of transmission  include direct contact with blood/tissues of infected  animals, and in the case of healthcare workers, through  direct contact with the blood/tissue of infected patients;  nosocomial outbreaks are well described and have been  associated with high mortality rates. Disease may be  severe in people, with case-fatality rates reported as 3 –  30% across various studies.

Detailed information for healthcare workers regarding  CCHF can be found on the NICD website  http:// (see General Public FAQ, or Health Workers FAQs here).

Virus structure visualisation – from here at home!

23 June, 2011

I was most pleased to discover via their blog that two of my colleagues here at UCT – Andrew Lewis and Timothy Carr, who do High Performance Computing support – have (a) been taking a more than passing interest in implementing some quite serious bioinformatics support (see Mr Bayes as well), and (b) doing visualisations of nasty virus proteins, just because they could!

Here is one for an Ebola virus protein, and here is another for Lujo virus, also covered quite extensively here.

And I liked it enough I stole it…B-)