Viral Hemorrhagic Fever (Ebola virus disease, Lassa fever, Marburg virus)
Infectious agent: : Ebola virus, Lassa virus, Marburg virus, and others
Description of illness: Viral hemorrhagic fevers (VHFs) refer to a group of illnesses that are caused by several distinct families of viruses (Ebola virus, Lassa virus, Marburg virus, and others). In general, the term “viral hemorrhagic fever” is used to describe a severe multisystem syndrome (multisystem in that multiple organ systems in the body are affected). Characteristically, the overall vascular system is damaged, and the body’s ability to regulate itself is impaired. These symptoms are often accompanied by hemorrhage (bleeding); however, the bleeding is itself rarely life-threatening. While some types of hemorrhagic fever viruses can cause relatively mild illnesses, many of these viruses cause severe, life-threatening disease.