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Revised Apr 2006

Hemorrhagic Fever Symptoms

Hemorrhagic fevers cause body fluids to leak out of tissue and orifices, the reason they are so horrifying.

The incubation period for Ebola HF ranges from 2 to 21 days. The onset of illness is abrupt and is characterized by fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, sore throat, and weakness, followed by diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain. A rash, red eyes, hiccups and internal and external bleeding may be seen in some patients.

Diagnosing Ebola HF in an individual who has been infected only a few days is difficult because early symptoms, such as red eyes and a skin rash, are nonspecific to the virus and are seen in other patients with diseases that occur much more frequently. However, if a person has the constellation of symptoms described above, and infection with Ebola virus is suspected, the patient ashould be isolated and the local and state health departments noltified. See: CDC.

The prevention of Ebola HF (mainly in Africa) presents many challenges. Because the identity and location of the natural reservoir of Ebola virus are unknown, there are few established primary prevention measures.

If cases of the disease do appear, care should be taken to prevent the spread of an epidemic within health-care facilities. Health-care providers should be on the alert for Ebola HF. Diagnostic tests must be made as soon as possible with isolation and appropriate barrier nursing techniques. These include the wearing of protective clothing, such as masks, gloves, gowns, and goggles; the use of infection-control measures, including complete equipment sterilization; and the isolation of Ebola HF patients from contact with unprotected persons. The aim of all of these techniques is to avoid any persons contact with the blood or secretions of any patient. If a patient with Ebola HF dies, it is equally important that direct contact with the body of the deceased patient be prevented.

These fevers are treatable by some anti-viral drugs.

Hemorrhagic fevers are induced by viruses and cause particularly gruesome deaths in more than half of untreated cases. The most famous of these is filovirus Ebola, or simply Ebola. Marburg is a version that has been developed as a weapon. Other varieties of these fevers include Yellow fever, Lassa fever, and Dengue.


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