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Viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF)

Related Terms

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Background

  • Viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF) is a severe, often fatal, illness caused by four distinct families of viruses: arenaviruses, filoviruses, bunyaviruses, and flaviviruses. These viruses are all RNA viruses; are dependent upon a rodent, tick, or mosquito host for survival; have no drug treatment or cure, with few exceptions; and are restricted geographically to the areas where the host lives. The viruses that cause VHF are found all over the world but each virus is associated with one or more host species. Some VHF infections are rare while others affect millions of people each year.
  • VHF is spread to humans by contact with urine, saliva, or feces from infected rodents or a bite from an insect, such as a mosquito or tick. Each virus is usually associated with a specific insect or rodent host or closely related species. These animals maintain the virus and are not known to exhibit any symptoms of viral illness.
  • Some VHF organisms can enter the body by inhaled airborne particles or by direct contact with broken or chafed skin. Some arenaviruses, such as Machupo and Lassa viruses, can be spread by person-to-person contact. For example, hospital workers caring for infected individuals can acquire the infection.
  • Most VHF organisms are totally dependent on their host organism for replication and survival. The cotton rat, multimammate rat, house mouse, deer mouse, and other field rodents are examples of rodent hosts. The hosts of some VHF organisms, such as Marburg and Ebola, are currently unknown.

Types of the Disease

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Risk Factors

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Causes

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Signs and Symptoms

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Diagnosis

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Complications

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Treatment

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Integrative Therapies

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Prevention

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Research

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Future Research

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.