Hemorrhagic Fever

First Things First (assess & treat for the following)

  • This chapter will address viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF), defined as a febrile illness associated with bleeding diathesis caused by specific hemorrhagic fever virus (HFV) families.
  • The classic VHF presentation includes fever, skin rash, myalgias, and encephalitis.
  • Because of the nonspecific presentation, must maintain a high index of suspicion to make the diagnosis.
  • Supportive treatment is the primary mode of management.
  • Ribavirin therapy may have a role for some HFVs but has not been well studied and is not approved by the U.S. FDA.
  • Human-to-human transmission most commonly occurs by direct contact with blood or body fluids, so isolation of suspected VHF patient is imperative.
  • Health care workers should maintain strict barrier precautions and airborne precautions if available.
  • Contact local public health officials if you suspect the diagnosis.

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Last updated: May 2, 2010