Author(s): Bannister B
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Viral haemorrhagic fevers (VHFs) are severe infections capable of causing haemorrhagic disease and fatal multi-organ failure. Crimean-Congo, Marburg, Ebola and Lassa viruses cause both sporadic cases and large epidemics over wide endemic areas. SOURCES OF DATA: Original articles and reviews identified by PubMed search and personal reading; European and United States national guidance and legislation. World Health Organization information, documents and reports. VHFs cause significant morbidity and mortality in their endemic areas; they can cause healthcare-related infections, and their broad diversity and range are increasingly recognized. AREAS OF CONTROVERSY: There is uncertainty about the risks presented by VHFs in non-endemic countries, particularly in healthcare environments. Consensus on the best modes of care and infection control are only slowly emerging. GROWING POINTS: With increasing commerce in rural and low-income areas, VHF outbreaks increasingly expand, causing social and economic damage. AREAS TIMELY FOR DEVELOPING RESEARCH: New ecologies, viral strains and clinical syndromes are being discovered. There is a great need for rapid diagnostic tests and effective antiviral treatments. Vaccine development programmes are challenged by multiple viral strains and the need for trials in rural communities.
This article was published in Br Med Bull
and referenced in Journal of Bioterrorism & Biodefense