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Hemorrhagic Fevers

Medically reviewed by Last updated on May 6, 2024.

What are hemorrhagic fevers? (HFs)

HFs are illnesses that are caused by 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.

How are HFs spread?

What are the signs and symptoms of HFs?

Your symptoms may begin a couple days to a week or more after you have been infected.

How are HFs diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider may ask if you have traveled to another country recently. Tell your provider if you were bitten by any insects or were in contact with any rodents or rodent nests. Your provider may ask if you have been in contact with someone who has an HF. A complete physical exam and check for signs of bleeding will be done. You may also need any of the following:

How are HFs treated?

There are no treatments that cure HFs. The goal of treatment is to control your symptoms and help your body fight the HF. You may need any of the following:

How can I decrease my risk for an HF?

What should I do if I have an HF?

If you are diagnosed with 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. If you are a woman, 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.

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my doctor?

Care Agreement

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 healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. 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.

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