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5 die of tick-borne disease in Turkey

ANKARA, Turkey, May 16 (UPI) -- Five people have died in the Black Sea region of Turkey of a disease that can be transmitted by tick bites, officials said.

Saim Sener, Nigar Orman and Ayse Ortaacar of Kastamonu province in northern Turkey were taken to Ankara Numune Hospital Tuesday and died that day from Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, Today's Zaman reported.

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A shepherd from Tokat district in Tokat province and a farmer from Corum province also died of the disease Tuesday.

The disease, which affects mainly farm and slaughterhouse workers in the countryside and in the central Anatolia and Black Sea regions, is normally transmitted by bites from infected ticks or through direct contact with infected blood tissue in livestock.

Transmission between humans, through exposure to contaminated blood, is rare.

As a result of global warming, ticks carrying the virus are multiplying faster, scientists said.

The disease, for which there is no vaccine, causes hemorrhage, high fever, muscle pain and vomiting. In severe cases, the disease can cause a body rash, bleeding from the bowels and gums and renal failure.

The disease, which has a mortality rate of about 30 percent, was first identified in Crimea in 1944 and later appeared in the Congo.

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