Hemorrhagic fevers can be caused by many different types of virus.
Depending on the type of virus, these infections may be spread through contact with the skin or body fluids of an infected person, through the droppings or urine of infected rodents, or through insect bites or when contaminated food is eaten.
Symptoms may include fever, muscle and body aches, headache, and vomiting, as well as bleeding from the mouth, nose, or internal organs.
To confirm the diagnosis, doctors do blood tests or sometimes examine infected tissue under a microscope.
Treatment includes giving fluids and other treatments to maintain body functions.
Antiviral medications are effective against some hemorrhagic fever viruses but not against all of them.
(See also Overview of Arbovirus, Arenavirus, and Filovirus Infections Overview of Arbovirus, Arenavirus, and Filovirus Infections Arbovirus, arenavirus, and filovirus are viruses that are spread from animals to people and, with some viruses, from people to people. The animal involved depends on the type of virus. Many... read more .)
Several groups of viruses can cause fever and other symptoms that are accompanied by severe bleeding (hemorrhagic fever).
The viruses most often associated with hemorrhagic fever are
Filoviruses, such as Ebola and Marburg viruses Ebola Virus and Marburg Virus Infections Marburg and Ebola virus infections cause bleeding and organ malfunction. These infections often result in death. Marburg and Ebola infections are spread through handling live or dead infected... read more , which occur mainly in parts of Central and West Africa
Arenaviruses, such as Lassa fever Lassa Fever and South American Hemorrhagic Fevers Lassa fever and South American hemorrhagic fevers caused by arenaviruses are viral infections that cause bleeding (hemorrhage) and organ malfunction. They often result in death. These infections... read more virus in West Africa and Junin virus in South America
Bleeding occurs because the viruses make the blood vessels leak. These infections are often fatal.
Many other viruses, including some South American arenaviruses, dengue Dengue Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral infection that causes fever, generalized body aches, and, if severe, external and internal bleeding (called dengue hemorrhagic fever). About 50 to 100 million... read more virus, hantavirus Hantavirus Infection Hantavirus infection is a viral disease that is spread from rodents to people. The virus can cause severe infections of the lungs (with cough and shortness of breath) or kidneys (with abdominal... read more , and yellow fever Yellow Fever Yellow fever is a mosquito-borne viral disease that occurs mainly in the tropics. Yellow fever occurs only in the tropical areas of Central Africa, southern Panama, and South America. Some people... read more virus, can cause hemorrhagic symptoms.
Some of these viruses naturally reside in animals. Some are spread by the bite of a tick or mosquito.