Britain on lockdown alert

Britain on lockdown alert as new killer virus which kills 40% of victims 'certain' to reach UK

Britain has been warned the killer virus is now 'certain' to reach the UK  

'Risk of spread' warning over CCHF which causes severe viral haemorrhagic fever outbreaks

Britain has been warned it could face another Covid-style lockdown when a new killer virus sweeping Europe reaches the UK.

Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) - which kills between 10–40% of people infected - has been identified as a major threat to public health.

The World Health Organisation says the virus - which kills 500 people every year - is mainly transmitted to people from ticks and livestock animals.

But human-to-human transmission can occur and the disease, which is endemic and has recently killed people in Africa, the Balkans, the Middle East and Asia, is now sweeping through Europe with up to three billion people now 'at risk'.

There is no vaccine.

Professor James Wood, who spoke to Parliament's Science, Innovation and Technology Committee last week, said: "It's when rather than if [the disease reached the UK].

"I think all in all likelihood. There is a risk of spread given the way that diseases emerging."

But he denied a national lockdown would be a sensible way to deal with the arrival of the virus in the UK. 

Prof Wood, an academic at University of Cambridge, added: "You'd be unlikely to get the sort of respiratory transmission [seen in Covid].

"So even say, I don't want to call them extreme lockdown enthusiasts, but, someone who thinks that these measures are very important to, to impose straightaway, I don't think it would be appropriate as it's not right for this form of infection."

The hosts of the CCHF virus include a wide range of common animals including cattle, sheep and goats. They become infected by the bite of infected ticks and the virus remains in their bloodstream for about one week after infection.

CCHF is endemic across much of Africa and Asia and is sweeping through Europe WHO

Most human cases have occurred in people involved in the livestock industry, such as agricultural workers, slaughterhouse workers and veterinarians.

But human-to-human transmission can occur resulting from close contact via blood or other bodily fluids.

Experts say Brits can reduce their chances of getting infected by wearing long trousers when walking in tick-dense areas, like long grassland.(…)