Viral haemorrhagic fevers (VHFs) typically manifest as rapidly progressing acute febrile syndromes with profound haemorrhagic manifestations and very high fatality rates. VHFs that have the potential for human-to-human transmission and onset of large nosocomial outbreaks include Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever, Ebola haemorrhagic fever, Marburg haemorrhagic fever and Lassa fever. Nosocomial outbreaks of VHFs are increasingly reported nowadays, which likely reflects the dynamics of emergence of VHFs. Such outbreaks are associated with an enormous impact in terms of human lives and costs for the management of cases, contact tracing and containment. Surveillance, diagnostic capacity, infection control and the overall preparedness level for management of a hospital-based VHF event are very limited in most endemic countries. Diagnostic capacities for VHFs should increase in the field and become affordable. Availability of appropriate protective equipment and education of healthcare workers about safe clinical practices and infection control is the mainstay for the prevention of nosocomial spread of VHFs.
Copyright © 2012 The Healthcare Infection Society. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.