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Viral Hemorrhagic Fever

About Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever

Ebola hemorrhagic fever (Ebola HF) is one of numerous Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers. It is a severe, often fatal, disease in humans and nonhuman primates (such as monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees). Researchers believe that Ebola is zoonotic, with bats as the most likely reservoir of the disease. Ebola virus was first discovered in 1976 in the Democratic Republic of Congo near the Ebola River. Since then, outbreaks have appeared sporadically. The recent outbreak in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria has resulted in over 1,700 infections and almost 1,000 deaths.

Ebola Virus Image

Picture of the Ebola Virus.
(From BBC.CO.UK)




Viral hemorrhagic fevers are prevalent in Africa and rare in the United States. They are caused by four classes of viruses (Filoviruses, Arenaviruses, Bunyaviruses, and Flaviviruses). Humans are incidentally infected by the bite of an infected tick or mosquito, via aerosol generated from an infected rodent urine or feces, or by direct contact with infected animal carcasses. With the exception of Rift Valley fever and the diseases caused by Flaviviruses (Yellow fever, Omsk HF, and Kyasanur Forest Disease) which are not transmissible person-to-person, infected humans can spread the disease to close contacts by touching bodily fluids, which may result in community outbreaks and healthcare-associated infections.

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