Lifestyle & Belief

British man dies of Congo Fever after returning from Afghanistan


A displaced Congolese woman from Kibumba sits with her child in the Democratic Republic of Congo on July 25, 2012. The World Health Organization warned that an outbreak of the Ebola virus could get out of control and spread to major towns.



A British man has died in a UK hospital of Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic fever immediately after returning from Afghanistan, in the first reported case of the deadly virus in the country.

The BBC reports the man was diagnosed with the disease on Tuesday, after flying into Glasgow from Kabul, where he was transferred to the Royal Free Hospital in London, which specializes in treating patients suffering from hazardous infections. He died on Saturday morning.

The two passengers who sat next to him on his connecting flight from Dubai appear to be fine, although they are being monitored, BBC added.

A hospital spokesman told AFP that the fever "can be acquired from an infected patient only through direct contact with their blood or body fluids, therefore there is no risk to the general public."

Read more from GlobalPost: Man steals phone from Ebola patient at Uganda hospital, gets Ebola

Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic fever is not as deadly as Ebola (which is related), but it's much more widespread: the disease, which is spread by ticks, is endemic to Europe, Asia, and Africa according to the WHO—although it's rarely found in Western Europe.

The CDC reports the mortality rate is between 9 and 50 percent, and that treatment is primarily supportive, although antiviral drug ribavarin appears to be somewhat effective.

Early symptoms include headache, fever, nausea, joint pain, and red eyes, according to the CDC, and jaundice and even changes to sensory perception may take place. Victims will then begin to bruise and bleed, especially at injection sites, and often die from loss of blood.

How to prevent it? Really, really, really don't let yourself get bit by a tick.