Viral hemorrhagic feversWe can help. We understand why you don’t feel as well as you’d like to.
WHAT IS Viral hemorrhagic (hem-uh-RAJ-ik) fevers ?
Viral hemorrhagic (hem-uh-RAJ-ik) fevers are infectious diseases that interfere with the blood’s ability to clot. These diseases can also damage the walls of tiny blood vessels, making them leaky. The internal bleeding that results can range from relatively minor to life-threatening.
Some viral hemorrhagic fevers include:
- Yellow fever
These diseases most commonly occur in tropical areas of the world. When viral hemorrhagic fevers occur in the United States, they’re usually found in people who’ve recently traveled internationally.
Viral hemorrhagic fevers are spread by contact with infected animals, people or insects. No current treatment can cure viral hemorrhagic fevers, and immunizations exist for only a few types. Until additional vaccines are developed, the best approach is prevention.
Treatment for frozen shoulder involves range-of-motion exercises and, sometimes, corticosteroids and numbing medications injected into the joint capsule. In a small percentage of cases, arthroscopic surgery may be indicated to loosen the joint capsule so that it can move more freely.
It’s unusual for frozen shoulder to recur in the same shoulder, but some people can develop it in the opposite shoulder.
Signs and symptoms of viral hemorrhagic fevers vary by disease. In general, initial symptoms may include:
- High fever
- Muscle, bone or joint aches
Symptoms can become life-threatening
Severe cases of some types of viral hemorrhagic fevers may cause bleeding, but people rarely die of blood loss. Bleeding may occur:
- Under the skin
- In internal organs
- From the mouth, eyes or ears
Other signs and symptoms of severe infections can include:
- Nervous system malfunctions
- Kidney failure
- Respiratory fever
- Liver failure
The viruses that cause viral hemorrhagic fevers live naturally in a variety of animal and insect hosts — most commonly mosquitoes, ticks, rodents or bats.
Each of these hosts typically lives in a specific geographic area, so each particular disease usually occurs only where that virus’s host normally lives. Some viral hemorrhagic fevers also can be transmitted from person to person, and can spread if an infected person travels from one area to another.
Simply living in or traveling to an area where a particular viral hemorrhagic fever is common will increase your risk of becoming infected with that particular virus. Several other factors can increase your risk even more, including:
- Working with the sick
- Slaughtering infected animals
- Sharing needles to use intravenous drugs
- Having unprotected sex
- Working outdoors or in rat-infested buildings
When to see a doctor
The best time to see a doctor is before you travel to a developing country to ensure you’ve received any available vaccinations and pre-travel advice for staying healthy.
If you develop signs and symptoms once you return home, consult a doctor, preferably one who focuses on international medicine or infectious diseases. A specialist may be able to recognize and treat your illness faster. Be sure to let your doctor know what areas you’ve visited.