Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever: Prevention and Control Limitations in a Resource-Poor Country

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In autumn 2000, an outbreak of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) occurred in Pakistan and involved nosocomial cases due to human-to-human transmission at a tertiary care hospital in Karachi. During a hospital-based investigation, 6 serologically confirmed cases (i.e., patients seropositive for CCHF antigen or anti-CCHF immunoglobulin M antibodies by means of a capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay [ELISA]) and 3 clinically confirmed cases (i.e., patients with negative ELISA for CCHF but with relevant epidemiologic exposures and compatible clinical disease) of CCHF were identified. The outbreak originated in rural Balochistan, a region of known CCHF endemicity where miniepidemics regularly occur, and subsequently spread to the urban centers of Quetta and Karachi. This outbreak demonstrated the capacities and weaknesses associated with a developing country's response to hemorrhagic fever epidemics. We describe aspects of disease prevention, control challenges, and political obstacles posed by illness associated with what we refer to as the “Asian Ebola virus.”

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