Haemorrhagic fevers and ecological perturbations

  • B. Le Guenno


Hemorrhagic fever is a clinical and imprecise definition for several different diseases. Their main common point is to be zoonoses. These diseases are due to several viruses which belong to different families. The Flaviviridae have been known for the longest time. They include the Amaril virus that causes yellow fever and is transported by mosquitoes. Viruses that have come to light more recently belong to three other families: Arenaviridae, Bunyaviridae, and Filoviridae. They are transmitted by rodents (hantaviruses and arenaviruses) or from unknown reservoirs (Ebola Marburg). The primary cause of most outbreaks of hemorrhagic fever viruses is ecological disruption resulting from human activities. The expansion of the world population perturbs ecosystems that were stable a few decades ago and facilitates contacts with animals carrying viruses pathogenic to humans. Another dangerous human activity is the development of hospitals with poor medical hygiene. Lassa, Crimean-Congo or Ebola outbreaks are mainly nosocomial. There are also natural environmental changes: the emergence of Sin Nombre in the U.S. resulted from heavier than usual rain and snow during spring 1993 in the Four Corners.

Biological industries also present risks. In 1967, collection of organs from monkeys allowed the discovery in Marburg of a new family of viruses, the Filoviridae. Hemorrhagic fever viruses are cause for worry, and the avenues to reduce their toll are still limited.


Yellow Fever Hemorrhagic Fever Hemorrhagic Fever With Renal Syndrome Rift Valley Fever Rift Valley Fever Virus 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer-Verlag Wien 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. Le Guenno
    • 1
  1. 1.WHO Collaborating Center for Arboviruses and Hemorrhagic Fever VirusesInstitut PasteurParis Cedex 15France

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