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Divining without SeedsThe Case for Strengthening Laboratory Medicine in Africa$
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Iruka N. Okeke

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449413

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449413.001.0001

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Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers

Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers

(p.65) 5 Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers
Divining without Seeds

Iruka N. Okeke

Cornell University Press

This chapter considers viral hemorrhagic fever outbreaks in Africa. The best known African viral hemorrhagic fevers are yellow fever, Marburg, and Ebola. Viral hemorrhagic fever outbreaks are promoted by the prevalent mode of medical practice in which etiology is only of interest when a cure fails, and not always even then. Because of the challenges associated with infection control and patient diagnosis, in typical African hemorrhagic fever epidemics the death toll is high and the spread throughout the hospital has already begun before the cause of the outbreak is known or even suspected. As Africans move deeper into forests, and improved travel networks allow individuals to move from the heart of the forest to a city with international connections in just a few hours, contact with wildlife and the risk of contracting and spreading Lassa, Ebola, Marburg, and as yet unknown zoonotic infections will continue to rise. It is essential to focus diagnostic support and research in countries where the diseases occur in nature.

Keywords:   Africa, infectious disease, viral hemorrhagic fever, disease outbreaks, epidemics, diagnosis, yellow fever, Marburg, Ebola

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