Skip to Content

Hemorrhagic Fevers


Hemorrhagic fevers (HFs) are illnesses that are caused by several groups of viruses. HFs are also called viral hemorrhagic fevers. HFs include the Ebola and Marburg viruses, yellow fever, dengue hemorrhagic fever, and Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever. The viruses are commonly found in rats, mice, and other field rodents. The viruses can also be found in carriers, such as mosquitoes and ticks. The viruses leading to HFs can be found anywhere in the world where these animals and carriers live. HFs may cause mild illness, but they may also cause life-threatening illness.



  • Antiviral medicine may be given to fight the virus causing your HF. This medicine may decrease your signs and symptoms, and help you feel better faster.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Drink liquids as directed:

Ask your healthcare provider how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you.

Ways to decrease your risk for an HF:

  • Avoid contact with infected animals and insects. Examples are mosquitoes, ticks, and rodents. Protect yourself from insect bites by wearing protective clothing, insect repellant, and using bed nets. Make sure your windows have screens to keep insects out. Wear protective gloves if you are in contact with rodent droppings (urine or feces) or rodent nests.
  • Avoid contact with an infected person. Also avoid close contact with the person's body fluids. If you are caring for someone with an HF, wear protective clothing. You will need to clean all objects used to care for the infected person as directed by healthcare providers.
  • Get vaccinated. Get vaccinated against yellow fever if you will be traveling to areas where mosquitoes carry yellow fever. The yellow fever vaccine does not protect you for your entire life. Ask for more information about vaccines against HFs.
  • Use caution when you travel. Avoid traveling to areas where there is a high number of HF infections. When you travel, avoid eating the meat of animals that may be infected.

Protect those around you when you have an HF:

Give your healthcare provider a list of all your close contacts. This includes family, friends, and coworkers. Any person you have had contact with will need to be seen by a healthcare provider. Each person should be checked for signs and symptoms of an HF.

Stop breastfeeding when you have an HF:

Tell your healthcare provider if you are currently breastfeeding your child. You may need to stop breastfeeding while you have an HF. You may pass the HF infection to your child through your breast milk.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You feel dizzy and weak, or you have fainted.
  • You have a fever that is not getting better or gets higher, and shaking chills.
  • You have a severe headache.
  • You have blisters or yellow or white spots in your throat.
  • You have new or increased abdominal pain, vomiting, or diarrhea.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • You are unable to urinate, or you urinate more or less than usual for you.
  • You feel very confused, shaky, and tired, or you have a seizure.
  • You have chest pain or trouble breathing.
  • You have new or increased bleeding from your ears, nose, mouth, eyes, or rectum.
  • You have new or increased blood in your vomit, urine, or bowel movements. You are female and have much heavier bleeding than normal during your monthly period.
  • You have new or increased bruising or red or purple dots on your skin.
  • Your heart is beating faster than is normal for you.
  • Your skin is cold and you feel very restless.
  • Your skin or the whites of your eyes turn yellow, or your abdomen is swollen and hard.

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2020 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Hemorrhagic Fevers (Discharge Care)

Associated drugs

IBM Watson Micromedex

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.