Most of the viral hemorrhagic fevers (VHFs) are caused by viruses that are handled in high containment laboratories in Europe and the United States because of their high pathogenicity and their aerosol infectivity. Special precautions should be taken when caring for patients infected with these viruses, but most hospitals can safely provide high-quality care. The major danger is parenteral inoculation of a staff member. Fomites and droplets must be considered as well. The role of small particle aerosols in inter-human transmission continues to be controversial. We believe that the aerosol infectivity observed for these viruses in the laboratory and the rare clinical situations that suggest aerosol spread dictate caution, but the many instances in which no transmission occurs provide a framework in which a measured approach is possible. The major challenge is in early recognition by an educated medical staff and rapid specific etiologic diagnosis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)