Prevention of Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers


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Prevention of Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers: With the exception of yellow fever and Argentine hemorrhagic fever, for which vaccines have been developed, no vaccines exist that can protect against these diseases. Therefore, prevention efforts must concentrate on avoiding contact with host species. If prevention methods fail and a case of VHF does occur, efforts should focus on preventing further transmission from person to person, if the virus can be transmitted in this way.

Because many of the hosts that carry hemorrhagic fever viruses are rodents, disease prevention efforts include

  • controlling rodent populations;
  • discouraging rodents from entering or living in homes or workplaces;
  • encouraging safe cleanup of rodent nests and droppings.

For hemorrhagic fever viruses spread by arthropod vectors, prevention efforts often focus on community-wide insect and arthropod control. In addition, people are encouraged to use insect repellant, proper clothing, bednets, window screens, and other insect barriers to avoid being bitten.

For those hemorrhagic fever viruses that can be transmitted from one person to another, avoiding close physical contact with infected people and their body fluids is the most important way of controlling the spread of disease. Barrier nursing or infection control techniques include isolating infected individuals and wearing protective clothing. Other infection control recommendations include proper use, disinfection, and disposal of instruments and equipment used in treating or caring for patients with VHF, such as needles and thermometers.1

Footnotes:
1. excerpt from Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers: DVRD

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