By: Sam Doak
July 24 2023
There are no plans for a lockdown to tackle this disease. Given how it spreads, this would be an unlikely solution.
On July 15, 2023, British broadcaster GB News ran the headline "Britain on lockdown alert as new killer virus which kills 40% of victims 'certain' to reach UK.” The virus in question is Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF), which has been observed to have spread beyond its historical boundaries, likely in part due to changing global temperatures.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), CCHF is a “viral hemorrhagic fever usually transmitted by ticks.” While the article published by GB News does not claim that experts or government figures have raised the possibility of a lockdown in the United Kingdom to contain the disease, the headline suggests this is likely.
In this vein, one verified Twitter user posted a link to GB News’s coverage, stating, “Is this going to be a Pandemic of the Vaccinated? 'Britain has been warned it could face another Covid-style lockdown when a new killer virus sweeping Europe reaches the U.K.'” This tweet, which failed to mention that no expert or public health body has raised the possibility of lockdowns, garnered over 1,300 retweets and 3,500 likes.
Concerns relating to CCHF are likely stoked by the serious effects this virus can have when contracted by a human being. According to the WHO, symptoms can include fever, nausea, and muscle ache after an incubation period of usually one to three days following infection through a tick bite. This can develop into life-threatening symptoms, giving CCHF a 10-40 percent fatality rate.
According to the WHO, the "CCHF virus is transmitted to people either by tick bites or through contact with infected animal blood or tissues during and immediately after slaughter. The majority of cases have occurred in people involved in the livestock industry, such as agricultural workers, slaughterhouse workers and veterinarians.”
Although it spreads primarily via animals, the WHO advises that “human-to-human transmission [of CCHF] can occur from close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected persons.”
Crucially, as CCHF infects animals and humans via ticks, a lockdown would not be a likely response to limit the spread of the disease. Speaking to The Mirror, Professor James Wood, a veterinary epidemiologist who recently gave evidence to parliament's Science, Innovation, and Technology Committee on this topic, has stated that a lockdown would “not be appropriate in any way” to mitigate the transmission of CCHF.
On the possibility of human-to-human transmission, Professor Wood stated that this would be more of a concern in medical environments, telling The Mirror, “It can spread but you should expect it more really in hospital-type settings where people don't realize what's going on and haven't taken appropriate safety measures, like PPE, what we are so used to seeing hospital workers wear anyway.”
The prospect of lockdowns to limit the spread of CCHF has not been raised by government figures or experts in this area. Given how this virus is transmitted to humans, such a measure would be an unlikely response, as recently stated by an expert speaking to journalists about this possibility. This claim has therefore been marked as false.