Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever Field Ecology Project

Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever Virus Ecology, Detection, and Modeling

Led by the One Health Institute, this project builds scientific workforce capacities through training in vector and wildlife sampling and surveillance for Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV) and other high-priority zoonotic pathogens. 

CCHFV (genus Orthonairovirus, family Nairoviridae) is a tick-borne zoonotic pathogen found across much of Asia, Africa, and parts of Europe. The majority of reported human cases are found in the Mediterranean and Middle East regions and are linked to exposure to the primary tick vector (Hyalomma spp.) which are often found on domesticated livestock. However, the contribution of other tick species and other potential mammal hosts (e.g., rodents, birds, bats) to the ecological maintenance of the virus is poorly characterized. CCHFV is a NIH/NIAID Category A pathogen and WHO R&D Blueprint priority disease marked by rapid and severe progression of CCHF in humans with high case fatality ratios. In contrast, livestock and most other known animal hosts develop apparently asymptomatic to very mild infections characterized by low level viremias and lack of obvious clinical disease that allows for the further infection of tick hosts and spread of the virus. Notably, the virus does cause high-level viremias and disease in ostriches and blue helmeted guinea fowl. Introduction of CCHFV into the United States could lead to massive economic impacts across the animal value-chain due to concerns over food-safety and security and pose a direct threat to public health through contaminated meat and animal products.

This project is an extension of previous work completed in partnership with the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), the Sokoine University of Agriculture in Tanzania (SUA), and the University of Makeni in Sierra Leone (UNIMAK).