Patients infected with high-hazard viruses: scientific basis for infection control

  • C. J. Peters
  • P. B. Jahrling
  • A. S. Khan
Conference paper
Part of the Archives of Virology Supplement II book series (ARCHIVES SUPPL, volume 11)


Most of the viral hemorrhagic fevers (VHFs) are caused by viruses that are handled in high containment laboratories in Europe and the United States because of their high pathogenicity and their aerosol infectivity. Special precautions should be taken when caring for patients infected with these viruses, but most hospitals can safely provide high-quality care. The major danger is parenteral inoculation of a staff member. Fomites and droplets must be considered as well. The role of small particle aerosols in inter-human transmission continues to be controversial. We believe that the aerosol infectivity observed for these viruses in the laboratory and the rare clinical situations that suggest aerosol spread dictate caution, but the many instances in which no transmission occurs provide a framework in which a measured approach is possible. The major challenge is in early recognition by an educated medical staff and rapid specific etiologic diagnosis.


Throat Swab Plaque Form Unit Rift Valley Fever Rift Valley Fever Virus Lassa Fever 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag/Wien 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. J. Peters
    • 1
  • P. B. Jahrling
    • 2
  • A. S. Khan
    • 1
  1. 1.Special Pathogens Branch, Division of Viral and Rickettsial DiseasesNational Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and PreventionAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.United States Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious DiseasesFrederickUSA

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