A viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF) can be suspected if certain clinical findings are present. Determining the precise type depends on clinical and laboratory findings.


NOTE: These criteria would change during an outbreak, when the prevalence suddenly increases and the diagnosis is more likely.

Presenting features:

(1) fever (>38.5°C or > 101°F) for > 72 hours (3 days) and <= 14 days

(2) severe illness with weakness and fatigue

(3) exclusion of other causes of fever common in the community (failure to respond to therapy, etc)


Clinical findings:

(1) unexplained bleeding from mucous membranes, skin, conjunctiva, GI tract, etc

(2) shock, with systolic blood pressure < 90 mm Hg

(3) contact within 3 weeks prior to onset with anyone who had an unexplained febrile illness with bleeding and/or death


A patient with these findings should be immediately placed in isolation and evaluated for a VHF.

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