An employee of Iraq's Health Ministry veterinarian department disinfects, as a precaution against the spread of Congo haemorrhagic fever, past cows at a farm in the southwestern Baghdad suburb of al-Bouaitha on May 22, 2023. AFP
At least 13 people have died in Iraq since the start of the year from a viral tick-borne disease transmitted to humans from livestock, the health ministry said on Saturday.
Nearly 100 other people have been infected by Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) in Iraq, where the disease claimed many more victims last year.
In 2022, at least 212 people were infected while 27 died, according to ministry spokesman Saif al-Badr.
Most of those who have been infected are livestock breeders from the rural southern province of Dhi Qar, as well as workers in abattoirs.
According to the World Health Organization, CCHF is a "viral tick-borne disease that is transmitted to humans by bites of infected ticks, and by direct contact with blood or tissues from infected humans and livestock".
It was first diagnosed in 1979 in Iraq, where decades of war and conflict have devastated government services including the health infrastructure.