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Open Access Opinion

Viral hemorrhagic fevers: advancing the level of treatment

Giuseppe Ippolito1*, Heinz Feldmann2, Simone Lanini1*, Francesco Vairo13, Antonino Di Caro1, Maria Rosaria Capobianchi1 and Emanuele Nicastri1

Author Affiliations

1 National Institute for Infectious Diseases Lazzaro Spallanzani, Via Portuense 292 00149 Rome, Italy

2 Laboratory of Virology, Division of Intramural Research, National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Rocky Mountain Laboratories, 903 South 4th Street, Hamilton, MT 59840, USA

3 Italian Health Cooperation, Piazzale della Farnesina 1 00135 Rome, Italy

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BMC Medicine 2012, 10:31  doi:10.1186/1741-7015-10-31

Published: 29 March 2012

Abstract

The management of viral hemorrhagic fevers (VHFs) has mainly focused on strict infection control measures, while standard clinical interventions that are provided to patients with other life-threatening conditions are rarely offered to patients with VHFs. Despite its complexity, a proper clinical case management of VHFs is neither futile nor is it lacking in scientific rationale. Given that patient outcomes improve when treatment is started as soon as possible, development and implementation of protocols to promptly identify and treat patients in the earliest phases of diseases are urgently needed. Different pharmacological options have been proposed to manage patients and, as for other life-threatening conditions, advanced life support has been proved effective to address multiorgan failure. In addition, high throughput screening of small molecular libraries has emerged as a novel promising way to find new candidates drugs for VHFs therapy and a relevant number of new molecules are currently under investigation. Here we discuss the current knowledge about VHF clinical management to propose a way to step up the approach to VHFs beyond the mere application of infection control measures.

Keywords:
clinical management; innovative therapeutics; viral hemorrhagic fever