Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever in a dengue-endemic region: Lessons for the future.

Farheen Ali, Aga Khan University
Taimur Saleem, Aga Khan University
Umair Khalid, Aga Khan University
Syed Faisal Mehmood, Aga Khan University
Bushra Jamil, Aga Khan University


Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever and dengue hemorrhagic fever are endemic in Pakistan. However, the overlap of geographic distribution and early clinical features between the two conditions make a reliable diagnosis difficult in the initial stage of illness. A 16-year-old boy presented with a history of hematemesis and high-grade fever. A preliminary diagnosis of dengue hemorrhagic fever was made and supportive treatment was instituted, however, the Patient continued to deteriorate clinically. Dengue IgM antibody testing was negative on the third day of admission. Qualitative polymerase chain reaction test for Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever viral RNA was sent but the Patient expired shortly after the results became available on the sixth day of admission. Considerable resources had to be expended on contact tracing and administration of ribavirin prophylaxis to all the health-care workers who had come in contact with the Patient. It is crucial that Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever be recognized and treated at an early stage because of longer term financial and health implications for contacts such as health-care workers in the setting of a developing country. Increased surveillance of dengue and Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever cases is warranted for the derivation of reasonably reliable, cost-effective and prompt predictors of disease diagnosis. These predictors can help guide future decisions in the management of similar cases. Ultimately, such a strategy may translate into better cost containment in resource-poor settings. Institution of ribavirin prophylaxis in selected Patients also merits consideration.