Ebola, Lassa fever, yellow fever, Rift Valley fever, Dengue, Crimean–Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF), Hantavirus diseases, Marburg hemorrhagic fevers etc. are some common hemorrhagic fevers that are caused by viral infections. Several distinct families of viruses cause these viral hemorrhagic fevers. In all these viral hemorrhagic fevers, multiple organ systems in the body are affected and hence, they are called hemorrhagic fevers. One of the major characteristic of the viral hemorrhagic fevers is that in this disease, the overall vascular system is damaged. Also, the body fails to regulate itself. As a consequence, there is bleeding or hemorrhage and this is the reason, why these fevers have such a name.
Here it must be mentioned that though bleeding or hemorrhage is a common symptom in these types of viral fevers, the bleeding itself is very minimal and not life-threatening. However, the viral fever and its other symptoms can be quite severe and at times, life-threatening.
How is Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Transmitted?
The cause of the different types of viral hemorrhagic fevers is numerous distinct families of viruses. However, the fevers are transmitted in a number of ways. These are –
- Direct contact with a person having prominent symptoms of the fever or disease (symptomatic patients)
- Coming in direct contact with an infected cadaver or dead body can also transmit viral hemorrhagic fevers
- Direct contact of body fluids with an infected person is the most common way of transmitting the viral hemorrhagic fevers.
- Transmission of viral hemorrhagic fevers can also happen with consumption of unpasteurized milk
- Consumption of raw meat of an infected animal
- Crushing infected insects such as ticks
- Mosquito or tick bites (Vectorborne viruses are transmitted in this way). Yellow fever, dengue, Rift Valley fever etc. are transmitted through mosquito bites and Crimean–Congo hemorrhagic fever is transmitted through tick bites.
- Coming in contact with infected animals. Hantavirus and Lassa are transmitted by rodents and Marburg, Ebola etc. can be transmitted by bats. When you come in contact with an infected non-human primate, the viruses can be transmitted through their tissues as well.
- Contaminated medical devices such as syringes or needles can also transmit viral hemorrhagic fevers.
Hence, it can be said that different viruses have different ways of being transmitted. If you are travelling to an area, where viral hemorrhagic fevers are common, you may be infected in one way or the other and notice the symptoms later, when you return home.
Is Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Contagious?
Viral hemorrhagic fevers are quite contagious as the viruses that cause these fevers, can be easily transmitted and that too in a number of ways. As already mentioned, the viruses can spread through mosquito or tick bites, from consumption of milk or meat from an infected animal or just through direct contact with an infected person. Not only can you get the viruses from body fluids, but also through breathing. If you share the air with an infected person, you have high chances of getting these viruses and suffer from viral hemorrhagic fever.