Rare skin-bleeding virus with 40% death rate highly likely to hit UK

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    Brits are being warned about the dangers posed by a new deadly disease that kills 40% of those who contract it.

    The Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever has been listed by the World Health Organisation as a “priority” recently after it was recently found in France.

    It can normally be found in Eastern Europe, although it has also been seen in Iraq, and can be contracted by a tick bite.

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    According to the WHO, a long list of symptoms include fever, muscle ache, dizziness, neck pain, backache, headache, sore eyes and photophobia (sensitivity to light), nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain and sore throat early on, followed by sharp mood swings and confusion.

    After two to four days, it can make you sleepy, depressed and even enlarge your liver.

    Other signs you have the deadly illness include fast heart rate, enlarged lymph nodes and a rash that causes bleeding into the skin.

    If you have the disease for two weeks you are more likely to die, WHO claims.

    Professor James Wood, head of veterinary medicine at Cambridge University, recently told MPs that it was “highly likely” that the deadly virus would reach the UK, although he did unhelpfully clarify that "we don't know what is going to arrive until it does".

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    Professor Bryan Charleston, director of the Pirbright Institute, which studies infectious diseases in animals, said there was a “slow march north” of diseases.

    He stated: “There are broadly two (points), one is that the insect vectors will move, greatly increasing the range of their habitat because of climate change and we are seeing that.

    “From a European perspective, the insects are spreading more north and then the viruses that they carry tend to follow.

    “Alternatively there are examples like blue tongue virus which we had in 2007 where the virus is brought in by some other route and the vectors we have are competent for those viruses.

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    “So these two things we have to understand, the spread and the increased risk of these viral infections because of the slow march north of the vectors.”

    Professor Sir Peter Horby, director of the Pandemic Sciences Institute at Oxford University also said that climate change was mixing up the map of where to find certain illnesses.

    He said: “Dengue which is classically a South American, South East Asian disease and is hyperendemic in those countries [has] spread North, you're now seeing transmission in the Mediterranean.”

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    • World Health Organisation
    • Animals

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