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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.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.


You may need to be in isolation because you have an infection that can spread to others. You may need to be in reverse isolation if your body is having trouble fighting the infection. Reverse isolation is a private hospital room to protect you from other people's germs. Healthcare providers and visitors may need to wear gloves, a face mask, or a gown. Everyone must wash their hands when they enter and leave your room.

Contact tracing:

Your healthcare provider will need 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.


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.


  • Blood and urine tests may show signs of infection or the cause of infection. They may also be done to get information about your overall health.
  • A throat culture is a test that may help healthcare providers learn which type of virus is causing your illness. A throat culture is done by rubbing a cotton swab against the back of your throat.
  • An ultrasound uses sound waves to show pictures of your organs and tissues on a monitor. Your healthcare provider may use an ultrasound to look at the organs in your abdomen or chest. He will look for signs of organ damage and areas of fluid collection caused by an HF.


  • IV fluid replacement may be needed if you lose too much body fluid. You will receive liquids through a tube that is placed in your vein.
  • Hemodialysis cleans your blood when your kidneys cannot. Extra water, chemicals, and waste products are removed from your blood by a dialyzer or dialysis machine. The dialysis machine does this by passing your blood through a filter, then returning it back to you. You may need dialysis if your HF caused your kidneys to stop working.
  • Plasma transfusion may be needed if your HF causes you to bleed. Plasma is the liquid part of your blood. You will get the transfusion through an IV. The risk for AIDS, hepatitis, or West Nile virus from a blood transfusion is rare. Ask your healthcare provider for more information if you have any concerns.


  • An HF can make it hard for you to do your normal daily activities. You may be isolated from people for a period of time, and you may become depressed. Even with treatment for your HF, you may bleed under your skin or from other parts of your body. This includes your eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and rectum. You may have bleeding from your organs, such as your liver or bowel. You may need plasma transfusions. Plasma is the liquid part of your blood. Fluid may collect in your lungs, making it hard for you to breathe.
  • Your blood pressure may drop too low and your organs may not get the blood and oxygen they need. You may have damage to your organs, including your heart, brain, liver, and kidneys. You may have seizures and you may go into a coma. Your liver and kidneys may fail. This may be life-threatening. If you are pregnant, your unborn baby may die.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. 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 Truven Health Analytics.

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.