The viral hemorrhagic fever viruses represent a unique group of viruses that can produce large outbreaks of both animal and human disease and produce severe, highly fatal, human illnesses. The viral hemorrhagic fever viruses display a great deal of diversity in their genetic organization, vectors for transmission, and geographic distribution. They share common features in being able to induce a great deal of cellular damage and to elicit an immune response among humans that can result in severe hemorrhage, coagulopathy, shock, and death. The characteristics of the viral hemorrhagic fever viruses as arthropod-borne or rodent-borne viruses that can result in human illnesses with high morbidity and mortality rates make these viruses a unique threat, historically, currently, and in the future, to deployed soldiers around the world. In response to this threat, U.S. military scientists have been world leaders in the development of knowledge on the viral hemorrhagic fever viruses, from extensive fieldwork in areas in which these viruses are endemic, outbreak investigations of epidemics, and careful clinical studies elucidating the pathogenesis of severe disease. Defining the disease threat and creating practical countermeasures through the development of drugs and vaccines has been the major mission of military scientists and has resulted in numerous candidate vaccines currently in animal and human clinical trials.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health