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Viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF) viruses are diverse and include arenaviruses, bunyaviruses, filoviruses, and flaviviruses. Lassa fever, South American hemorrhagic fever (HF), Rift Valley HF, Crimean-Congo HF, Ebola, Marburg, yellow fever, and dengue fever are well known examples of the hemorrhagic fever viruses. They are often difficult to diagnose and treat resulting in significant morbidity and mortality. Transmission varies from vector borne to person-to-person. The common clinical presentation includes fever, myalgia, microvascular damage, and hemorrahage as well as a history of travel to the tropics. If VHF is suspected, strict infection control procedures must be implemented to prevent the spread of these agents within the emergency department. Management of VHF is largely supportive, but ribavirin has been useful for certain viruses.


This article was originally published in Topics in Emergency Medicine, volume 25, issue 1, in 2003.





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