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Viral hemorrhagic fevers fact sheet
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    CDC fact sheet
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  • Description:
    What are viral hemorrhagic fevers? -- How are hemorrhagic fever viruses grouped? -- What carries viruses that cause viral hemorrhagic fevers? -- Where are cases of viral hemorrhagic fever found? -- How are hemorrhagic fever viruses transmitted? -- What are the symptoms of viral hemorrhagic fever illnesses? -- How are patients with viral hemorrhagic fever treated? -- How can cases of viral hemorrhagic fever be prevented and controlled? -- What needs to be done to address the threat of viral hemorrhagic fevers?

    Viral hemorrhagic fevers (VHFs) refer to a group of illnesses that are caused by several distinct families of viruses. In general, the term "viral hemorrhagic fever" is used to describe a severe multisystem syndrome (multisystem in that multiple organ systems in the body are affected). Characteristically, the overall vascular system is damaged, and the body's ability to regulate itself is impaired. These symptoms are often accompanied by hemorrhage (bleeding); however, the bleeding is itself rarely life-threatening. While some types of hemorrhagic fever viruses can cause relatively mild illnesses, many of these viruses cause severe, life-threatening disease.

    The Special Pathogens Branch (SPB) primarily works with hemorrhagic fever viruses that are classified as biosafety level four (BSL-4) pathogens. A list of these viruses appears in the SPB disease information index. The Division of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases, also in the National Center for Infectious Diseases, works with the non-BSL-4 viruses that cause two other hemorrhagic fevers, dengue hemorrhagic fever and yellow fever.

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