A graduate of the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, TX, and the founding director of Global NeuroCare, Dr. James C. Johnston strives to increase the effectiveness and accessibility of neurology care worldwide. Focused particularly on the needs of sub-Saharan Africa, Dr. James C. Johnston co-authored a paper on the use of ribavirin as a treatment for Crimean Congo haemorrhagic fever.
Crimean Congo haemorrhagic fever is a viral infection with a fatality rate of 30 to 40 percent. It occurs most commonly in Africa, as well as in those areas of the Middle East, Asia, and the Balkans that lie south of 50 degrees above the equator. First discovered in the Ukraine in 1944, it made itself known in the Con go in the late 1960s and thus acquired its current name. It spreads as a tick-borne illness and is prone to amplification in the bodies of host animals, whose blood can then pass the disease on to humans. Similarly, humans may spread the disease among their own populations through contact with infectious bodily fluids.
Crimean Congo haemorrhagic fever has a typical incubation period of 1 to 13 days, depending on the source of infection. Once symptomatic, it presents with the sudden appearance of fever, dizziness, neck and back pain, and headache. Patients are also likely to experience muscle aches, photosensitivity, and eye pain, as well as early digestive distress and subsequent emotional agitation. As the disease progresses, a patient may become lethargic and develop haemorrhagic rashes, liver enlargement, and swollen lymph nodes. Patients who recover may begin to see improvement 9 to 10 days after symptom onset.