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Travellers to Spain at Risk of Tick-borne Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever

If you’re planning a hiking holiday in Spain it’s important to take precautions against a new fatal disease spreading through Western Europe. Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) causes diarrhoea, vomiting and heavy bleeding and is spread by ticks. Tick expert and inventor of incognito, Howard Carter provides some insight into the disease plus some useful advice on how to prevent getting bitten...

CCHF is fatal for up to 30% of sufferers. Last month, two people in Spain – a 62-year-old hiker and a 50-year-old healthcare worker – caught the disease, which marks the first instance of local transmission of the disease in Western Europe.

Tick expert and inventor of incognito insect repellent comments, “CCHF is endemic in a sweep of territories covering north-west China, India, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. Although mostly spread by Hyalomma ticks, the virus can also be transmitted through contact with infected blood. This means that there is a possibility that it could spread like HIV through blood and possibly semen as well.

The Spanish cases suggest the disease could spread anywhere in Europe as birds carrying the disease migrate from Spain all over. However, holiday makers and those living in the UK need not worry if they follow the following advice...

In order to prevent a tick bite, it is imperative that people cover up their arms and legs and use insect repellent, as ticks can even crawl onto your skin through your clothing! Odours, bodily or otherwise like perfume, scented soaps, shampoos, etc are strong attractants. So don’t use them. Instead wash with citrusy, repellent products where possible and exfoliate with a loofah. Apply an effective mosquito repellent: either DEET or PMD based such as incognito, if you prefer a natural solution, and reapply when necessary.

Keep to paths and avoid walking through long grass. Check for ticks regularly and brush off any you see on your clothing before they have a chance to bite. It’s also helpful to impregnate your clothing with an insecticide such as Permethrin.

When you get home, brush over your clothes to remove any loose ticks before going inside. Check your skin carefully for ticks, paying particular attention to the folds in the skin and other areas where ticks might hide, especially behind the knee and in the groin area. Check the hairline carefully on small children. Put your clothes in a tumble drier on high heat for an hour, to kill any ticks that might still be there.”


About Howard Carter
Howard Carter became one of the UK’s foremost bite prevention experts on mosquitoes and insects, after contracting malaria and dengue in the same year, during the 1990’s. He is also an expert on tick bites.


Further information
For further information about Howard Carter, CCHF, or to arrange an interview or further comment from Howard Carter, please contact:
Ian & Jenny Liddle, Excellart, 01450 219 246,,

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