Key messages about viral haemorrhagic fevers
A number of diseases are included under the heading “viral haemorrhagic fevers” (VHFs), with differences in type of virus, geographical distribution, incidence, reservoir, way of transmission and clinical symptoms.
The common denominator is the possible emergence of a disease with general bleedings – often leading to death.
Another common feature is the potential risk to close contacts, which such patients might pose and to health and laboratory personnel until a firm diagnosis is established.
Fortunately most of these viruses do not transmit easily (with the exception of yellow fever virus and Dengue virus which are spread through infected mosquitoes).
Present in Europe are Puumula and Dobrava VHF, also called ‘epidemic nephropathy’ (transmitted through direct/indirect exposure to infected rodents) and Crimean-Congo VHF (transmitted through tick bites).
Others, are mainly seen as imported infections, such as Lassa fever (transmitted by rodents), yellow fever, dengue haemorrhagic fever (transmitted through mosquito bites), and Marburg fever (monkey associated).