Efficacy of oral ribavirin treatment in Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever: a quasi-experimental study from Turkey

J Infect. 2009 Mar;58(3):238-44. doi: 10.1016/j.jinf.2009.01.014. Epub 2009 Feb 26.


Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of oral ribavirin treatment in patients with Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF).

Methods: In 2004, all patients diagnosed with CCHF were treated with oral ribavirin, however in 2003 none of the CCHF patients had been given treatment due to lack of confirmatory diagnostic information at that time in Turkey. In this study, patients treated with ribavirin in 2004 (n=126) were compared with ribavirin-untreated CCHF patients (n=92) in 2003. Patients only with a definitive diagnosis of CCHF (clinical symptoms plus the presence of specific IgM antibodies against CCHF virus and presence of viral antigen) were included in this study.

Results: There was no difference in the case-fatality rate between treated and untreated patients (7.1% vs. 11.9%; P>0.05). A Cox Proportional Hazards regression analysis revealed that altered sensorium and prolonged international normalized ratio were independent predictors of mortality.

Conclusion: Our results showed that oral ribavirin treatment did not improve the survival rate in CCHF patients. Ribavirin and supportive care are the only available choices for treatment of CCHF patients, but to ascertain the efficacy of ribavirin, more laboratory and observational studies are necessary and ultimately, to elucidate these conflicting results and evaluate the efficacy undoubtedly, a multicenter randomised controlled trial will be needed.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood
  • Antiviral Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Hemorrhagic Fever Virus, Crimean-Congo / drug effects*
  • Hemorrhagic Fever Virus, Crimean-Congo / isolation & purification
  • Hemorrhagic Fever, Crimean / drug therapy*
  • Hemorrhagic Fever, Crimean / virology
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ribavirin / administration & dosage*
  • Ribavirin / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Turkey


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Antiviral Agents
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Ribavirin