Characteristics of headache and its relationship with disease severity in patients with Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever
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Objectives: Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) is a fatal, tick- borne disease. The classic clinical presentation of CCHF is characterized by sudden onset of high fever, chills, and severe headache. There are no previous reports on the characteristics of headaches caused by CCHF. Therefore, we investigated the relationship between CCHF-induced headache and the clinical course of the disease. Methods: We included 60 patients with headache diagnosed with CCHF; they were divided into two groups: group 1 included patients with hospital stay <7 days and group 2 included patients with hospital stay >7 days. The control group included 43 viral pneumonia patients with headache. Patients described the characteristics of headaches and also self-rated the severity with a numeric pain scale that classified headache as either mild or severe. Results: In the group with CCHF, 66.7% of the reported headaches met criteria for diagnosis of migraine. This ratio was significantly higher than that in the control group (37.5%). The headache severity scores in group 1 were lower than those in group 2. The hospitalization length was shorter (p=0.004) and the platelet levels were higher in CCHF patients with mild headache compared with CCHF patients with severe headache (p=0.005). Conclusion: CCHF patients had more often and severe headaches than the controls. The severity of headache may be associated with the severity of vascular endothelial damage, vasodilatation, and abnormal release of inflammatory cytokines in CCHF similar in migraine. Most CCHF patients experienced migraine-like headaches, suggesting that cerebral vessel involvement might be important in both CCHF and migraine.