AHFV was first isolated in 1995 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, from the blood samples of local butchers with hemorrhagic fever . The butchers developed a high fever after slaughtering sheep. A broadly reactive flavivirus monoclonal antibody that reacts with dengue and other flaviviruses was used to confirm that the newly identified virus is a flavivirus .
A flavivirus belongs to the family Flaviviridae. They are a group of single-strand, enveloped RNA viruses. They are mainly found in ticks, mosquitoes, and similar vectors, and occasionally, they infect humans. The AHFV virus has been isolated from Ornithodoros savignyi ticks found on camels in Saudi Arabia .
Alkhurma Hemorrhagic fever was initially suspected to be CCHV but was later found to be a distinct variant of Kyasanur Forest Disease Virus (KFDV), a tick-borne virus s first reported in India . Analysts indicate that AHFV must have diverged from KFDV some 700 years ago .
In 2001, the pathogen was referred to as the Alkhurma virus for the first time by Professor Tariq Ahmed Madani of King Abdulaziz University in Saudi Arabia. The name ‘Alkhurma’ comes from the town ‘Alkhurma’ in the Mecca region in Saudi, where the infected sheep were first sourced .