CCHF in Iraq

21 June 2022

Article: 56/2402

On 1 June 2022, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a report on the continued transmission of Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) in Iraq, with 212 cases, including 27 deaths, being reported across the country from 1 January up to 22 May 2022.

CCHF is a potentially fatal tick-borne viral haemorrhagic fever (VHF), found in over 30 countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Eastern and Southern Europe. There is no vaccine available for use in the UK.

Advice for travellers

CCHF is spread by ticks infected from an animal reservoir such as cattle, sheep and goats, and can also be transmitted by having contact with the blood or body fluids of an infected animal or person.

While CCHF is extremely rare in travellers, there is an increased risk to those visiting an endemic region who may:

  • have an increased likelihood of tick bites during activities such as hiking, camping in rural areas or visiting farms
  • be involved in animal slaughter, for example during religious or cultural events
  • be travelling for veterinary or medical work reasons

Travellers with an increased risk of infection should be aware of the disease and prevent transmission by:

  • practicing tick bite avoidance when partaking in outdoor activities
  • following appropriate infection control procedures if working in a healthcare setting
  • wearing gloves and other protective clothing while handling animals or their tissues, notably during slaughtering, butchering and culling procedures

Further information on CCHF can be found on the TRAVAX (for health professionals) and fitfortravel (for the general public) websites.

Sources: TRAVAX, 15 June 2022 and fitfortravel, 15 June 2022