Title

Crimean congo-haemorrhagic fever treated with oral ribavirin

Document Type

Article

Department

Pathology and Microbiology; Haematology/Oncology

Abstract

Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) is an often- lethal haemorrhagic fever caused by a tick-borne virus. There are no published data on ribavirin treatment of CCHF-infected patients, despite established in-vitro and in-vivo sensitivity. We report three health workers—two surgeons and a hospital worker—infected with CCHF virus in Pakistan who were treated with oral ribavirin 4 g/day for four days, then 2·4 g/day for six days. Intravenous ribavirin was unavailable. All three patients were severely ill with low platelet and white-cell counts, raised aspartate transaminase and evidence of impaired haemostasis. Based on published reports, all had an estimated probability of death of 90% or more. The patients became afebrile, and their haematological and biochemical abnormalities returned to normal within 48 h of ribavirin treatment; all made a complete recovery, and developed IgG and IgM antibody to CCHF virus. Our experience with ribavirin treatment is encouraging, but does not constitute evidence of efficacy. Given the difficulties in gathering adequate treatment data, we propose a consensus protocol for both intravenous and oral treatment of CCHF. This protocol could be distributed to key medical personnel in areas endemic for CCHF and used to provide a firm basis for effective treatment recommendations.

Publication

The Lancet