Hemorrhagic fever is a kind of viral infection caused by group of viruses. Viral hemorrhagic fever can affect the function of many vital organs and the worst thing is they can damage the blood vessels affecting the transportation of oxygenated blood. Symptoms of hemorrhagic fever may range from mild to severe and in rare cases they can cause death. This disease can affect the clotting ability of blood causing bleeding. Often these viruses live in animals and get transmitted to humans when they consume or handle infected animals. It can also spread from infected individuals to others through saliva, urine and other fluids. Ebola, Marburg, Lassa and Dengue viruses cause hemorrhagic fever. People living in tropical regions are at increased risk of this fever. There is no cure for this disease.
Hemorrhagic fever caused by group of viruses like flavivirus, bunyavirus, filovirus and arenavirus. These viruses would choose a suitable host like animal or insect for survival. Generally the virus is restricted to specific areas but it can spread to people who travel frequently to affected areas.
Mode Of Transmission :
People working in slaughter houses and those handling infected animals are likely to get infected. An individual who touches the feces of infected animal or comes in contact with the saliva would get infected. Insects like mosquitoes, ticks, flies and animals like rodents and bats are carriers of viruses. In some cases infected person can also pass on the infection to others through saliva and exchange of body fluids. An outbreak of hemorrhagic fever occurs irregularly and cannot be predicted.
Who Are At Risk ?
- Health care professionals who are handling sick patients and infected people each day are at increased risk of hemorrhagic fever.
- People whose work involves slaughtering of animals are at high risk.
- People who use common needles and unsterilized needles are likely to get infected.
- And lastly people who have unprotected sex with strange person are at increased risk of hemorrhagic fever.
- Often the risk of getting infected with hemorrhagic fever is restricted for people living in specific geographic areas where viruses are distributed. However one can get infected by visiting such tropical regions frequently.
Viral hemorrhagic fever can cause leakage of blood by damaging the blood vessels resulting in internal bleeding. In severe cases it can damage the vital organs like eyes, brain, heart, lungs, liver and kidneys.
Hemorrhagic Fever Symptoms :
After getting infected a person can develop symptoms like headache, tiredness, fever, muscle ache and pain in the bone. It can also cause dry mouth, dryness in eyes, muscle twitches and nervousness. In severe cases the viruses would damage the internal organs causing more symptoms like poor concentration, rapid heartbeat, uncontrolled fever, vomiting and diarrhea. Nervous system may not work properly resulting in lack of communication from the brain. On such occasions, the infected person can develop epilepsy, delirium and even coma. Infected individual may bleed internally but he may not die of loss of blood but due to other complicated problems like liver/kidney failure, nervous system breakdown and shock.
Detecting hemorrhagic fever can be difficult because the symptoms resemble flu or normal fever initially. Extreme tiredness, muscle pain, high fever and loss of appetite are the signs of many illnesses. Your doctor would ask questions to know whether you are exposed to infected regions or recently visited such areas. He may order for blood test to confirm his diagnosis.
- There is no cure for hemorrhagic fever but symptoms can be managed with medications.
- Antiviral drugs like Rebetol or Virazole are prescribed to prevent complications.
- Treatment is based on the areas of the body that are infected. For people with dehydration signs, plenty of fluids are to be taken to prevent further loss.
- In severe cases of kidney infection dialysis can be done for purifying the blood.
- There is no vaccination available to prevent hemorrhagic fever.
- If you are planning to visit infection prone areas, consult your doctor to take suitable precautions. You can wear hand gloves, use face shield and long gowns to prevent infection from animals.
- Avoid having sex with strangers and unknown persons since you can get transmitted by exchange of body fluids while having sex.
- Take measures to control rodent population and discourage them to enter your home.
- Use mosquito nets and repellent or wear permethrin coated clothes.
- Always keep the pet food closed and covered.
- Clean the garbage daily.