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Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers: Basic Information

Viral hemorrhagic fevers (VHF) are infections caused by a viruses (germs) that are common in Africa and South America, but very rare in the United States.

Is VHF spread from person-to-person?

Yes. These infections are commonly spread from person to person by contact with infected blood and other infected body fluids such as urine, feces, vomitus, and droplets coughed into the air by the infected person.

How soon will symptoms develop (incubation period)?

Normally symptoms start 5 days or longer after exposure to the germ. Not all persons exposed to the germ will develop infection.

What are the symptoms of VHF?

Symptoms include high fever, sore muscles and extreme weakness. The eyes may become red and the skin may appear to be red (flushed). In the advanced stages of the infection there may be bleeding from the nose, mouth, bowel or bladder.

How is the infection treated?

There are no medications available to treat VHF infection.

What should I do if I DO NOT have symptoms?

You should continue with your daily activities. Please DO NOT go to the hospital emergency room, for this infection, unless you have a fever or other symptoms of VHF.