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Haemorrhagic fever is the general name for a whole group of dangerous, often fatal, viral diseases occurring all over the world. What diseases are "hemorrhagic fever"? Where are the viruses responsible for them? And is there any effective treatment?

Haemorrhagic feveris caused by viruses, most commonly found in Africa, Asia and South America, but also in Siberia (Omsk haemorrhagic fever), India (Kyasanur forest disease), or Eastern Europe (hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome).

The infection can be caused by a mosquito or tick bite that has previously been in contact with infected rodents, but also by droplets, inhalation, as a result of contact, for example, with infected faeces, urine, sweat, etc.

The incubation period of the disease depends on the viruses causing it and can last from several days to even three weeks. In any case, however, prompt medical intervention increases the chances of implementing the therapy and recovery.

The prognosis for viral hemorrhagic fevers varies, sometimes the disease is mild and manageable, in other cases it can result in severe internal organ failure or even death.

Hemorrhagic fever: symptoms

The initial symptoms of hemorrhagic fever are similar to the course of the flu, occur:

  • high fever (over 39 degrees C)
  • chills
  • muscle and joint pain
  • severe headaches
  • general breakdown

After a short time, there are also symptoms of the digestive system, including :

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea, sometimes with blood, patients also complain of abdominal pain.

After a few days, more characteristic symptoms appear, such as rash, ecchymosis, bleeding from the mucous membranes and internal bleeding, which are the result of the permeability of the blood vessel walls.

Haemorrhagic fever: classification

Due to the viruses that cause hemorrhagic fever, it was possible to properly classify them. And like this:

  • Ebola fever and Marburg fever are the result of family activitiesFiloviridae
  • yellow fever (aka yellow fever), dengue fever, West Nile fever, Omsk feverthe haemorrhagic and disease of the Kyasanur forest is the result of family activitiesFlaviviridae
  • Riftu valley fever, hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (Hanta hemorrhagic fever, epidemic nephropathy, "trench kidney") is the result of family activityBunyaviridae
  • Lassa fever, Argentine haemorrhagic fever, Bolivian haemorrhagic fever, Venezuelan haemorrhagic fever and Brazilian haemorrhagic fever are the result of family activityArenaviridae
  • Chikungunya fever is the result of family activityTogaviridae
  • bleeding eye fever (Crimean Congo, CCHF)

Only a publicly available vaccine has been developed for yellow fever, in the case of other diseases there is no effective method that would protect against infection. The most violent, and at the same time dangerous, course is infection with Ebola and Marburg fever, the mortality rate of which is about 60-90%.

Hemorrhagic fever: treatment

The diagnosis of hemorrhagic fever in the first stage of the disease is not easy, because the symptoms are non-specific until the onset of hemorrhagic symptoms. Blood tests are sometimes performed, as hemorrhagic fever is often accompanied by leukopenia (too low a number of white blood cells) and thrombocytopenia (a decrease in the number of blood platelets).

Treatment is based primarily on antiviral therapy aimed at preventing dehydration (the patient is given water and electrolyte fluids), and thus further weakening the body. The doctor tries to prevent complications occurring in hemorrhagic fever (e.g. from the respiratory system, nervous system), and even if they occur, medications are used to prevent the patient from being in a life-threatening situation.

The most commonly used drug is ribavirin, which is most effective in the early stages of the disease. Due to the high infectivity of the disease, patients with hemorrhagic fever should be treated in isolated conditions, and the hospital staff must particularly follow the rules of hygiene, proper disinfection of rooms and equipment, and disposal of used materials. This way, the further spread of viruses and further infections is prevented.


Prevention of haemorrhagic fever is primarily based on informing the local population when the risk of infection increases. The same knowledge should be shared by people traveling to areas with viruses causing hemorrhagic fever. The best protection is to use mosquito and tick repellants, avoid contact with potentially infected rodents,monkeys or birds (and their faeces, blood, urine). If, after returning from a trip, you do not feel well, it is recommended to see a doctor and do at least basic blood tests.

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