Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) virus-specific antibody detection in blood donors, Castile-León, Spain, summer 2017 and 2018

Lía Monsalve Arteaga, Juan Luis Muñoz Bellido, María Carmen Vieira Lista, María Belén Vicente Santiago, Pedro Fernández Soto, Isabel Bas, Nuria Leralta, Fernando de Ory Manchón, Ana Isabel Negredo, María Paz Sánchez Seco, Montserrat Alonso Sardón, Sonia Pérez González, Ana Jiménez Del Bianco, Lydia Blanco Peris, Rufino Alamo-Sanz, Roger Hewson, Moncef Belhassen-García, Antonio Muro

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Background: Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV) is considered an emerging or even a probable re-emerging pathogen in southern Europe. Presence of this virus had been reported previously in Spain in 2010.

Aim: We aimed to evaluate the potential circulation of CCHFV in western Spain with a serosurvey in asymptomatic adults (blood donors).

Methods: During 2017 and 2018, we conducted a CCHFV serosurvey in randomly selected asymptomatic blood donors from western Spain. Three assays using specific IgG antibodies against CCHFV were performed: the VectoCrimea ELISA test, an in-house ELISA and indirect immunofluorescence (EuroImmun) test with glycoprotein and nucleoprotein.

Results: A total of 516 blood donors participated in this cross-sectional study. The majority of the study participants were male (68.4%), and the mean age was 46.3 years. Most of the participants came from rural areas (86.8%) and 68.6% had contact with animals and 20.9% had animal husbandry practices. One in five participants (109/516, 21.1%) were engaged in at-risk professional activities such as agriculture and shepherding, slaughtering, hunting, veterinary and healthcare work (mainly nursing staff and laboratory technicians). A total of 15.3% of the participants were bitten by ticks in the days or months before the date of sampling. We detected anti-CCHFV IgG antibodies with two diagnostic assays in three of the 516 individuals and with one diagnostic assay in six of the 516 individuals.

Conclusion: Seroprevalence of CCHFV was between 0.58% and 1.16% in Castile-León, Spain. This is the first study in western Spain that showed circulation of CCHFV in healthy people.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 12 Mar 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: This study was supported by the Institute of Health Carlos III, ISCIII, Spain (, grants: RICET RD16/0027/0018 (AM) and RD16/0003/0003 (MPSS), DTS16/00207 (AM), PI16/01784 (PFS), European Union co-financing by FEDER (Fondo Europeo de Desarrollo Regional) ‘Una manera de hacer Europa’.

The funders had no role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish or preparation of the manuscript.

Open Access: This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) Licence. You may share and adapt the material, but must give appropriate credit to the source, provide a link to the licence and indicate if changes were made.



  • CCHF
  • Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever
  • blood donor
  • emerging diseases
  • epidemiology
  • laboratory
  • re-emerging diseases
  • tick-borne diseases
  • viral haemorrhagic fever


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