Prepping For Ebola & Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers

Prepping For Ebola & Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers

There’s a great deal of consternation currently regarding the unprecedented spread of the Viral Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola outside of it’s traditional African haunts as well as the current Ebola epidemic in Africa and the reemergence of Marburg in Uganda..  There certainly isn’t any indication that Ebola or any Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers will overwhelm the world-class medical systems we have in the U.S. and reach pandemic levels anytime soon but prepping for Ebola and Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers is yet another way that you can improve your overall preparedness.

What Is Viral Hemorrhagic Fever

The first step in developing any battle plan is to know your enemy. This even holds true when battling disease, so before we discuss prepping for Ebola and other viral hemorrhagic fevers we need to learn about the enemy…

Viral hemorrhagic fevers are a group of illnesses caused by a viral infection which result in fever and gastrointestinal symptoms followed by excessive bleeding or capillary hemorrhage.  These viruses exhibit the following commonalities:

  • RNA viruses with a fatty, lipid coating
  • Reliant on an animal or insect host as a virus reservoir
  • Geographically restricted in origin but capable of hitchhiking along modern transportation systems or being transported intentionally by bad actors.
  • Humans aren’t the natural reservoir for these viruses but once infected can often transmit the virus to others
  • Most viral hemorrhagic fevers are incurable

Thankfully viral hemorrhagic fever is uncommon in the United States and primarily occur from exposure while traveling outside of the country or from occupational exposure.  Until recently there was no report of human cases of Ebola in the U.S. and we have yet to experience Marburg.  Lassa Fever has also been brought into the country by travelers.  One interesting fact is that there’s actually a strain of Ebola, Ebola-Reston that was named after it’s discovery at a primate center in Reston Virginia in 1989.  That particular strain was imported from the Philippines with their hosts, macaque monkeys.  Thankfully this strain doesn’t cause disease in humans.

Viral hemorrhagic fevers are primarily caused by five virus families which each include a number of individual  hemorrhagic fever causing viruses:

Arenaviridae Virus Family

This family of viruses is generally acquired by humans through rodents with different rodent species serving as primary hosts for different viruses. Rodent hosts of these viruses generally remain symptom free and transmit the virus through bites, urine and droppings and people generally contract these diseases through contaminated food or direct contact of damaged skin with rodent droppings. Inhalation of soiled particulate matter may also cause infection. Relatively few of the many viruses that make up this virus family result in diseases in humans but the following diseases do cause mild to severe illness in people:

  • Lymphocytic choriomeningitis
  • Argentine hemorrhagic fever
  • Bolivian hemorrhagic fever
  • Lassa fever
  • Venezuelan hemorrhagic fever
  • Brazilian hemorrhagic fever
  • Chapare hemorrhagic fever
  • Lujo hemorrhagic fever

Once infected, person to person transmission can occur through direct contact with an infected person’s blood or bodily fluids.  Transmission through the handling of contaminated objects and even airborne transmission is also possible with some viruses in this family.

Bunyaviridae Virus Family:

The Bunyaviridae virus family includes more than 300 viruses which can be transmitted by arthropods like mosquitoes, ticks and sand flies as well as rodents. These viruses cause disease in both animals and humans, sometimes with the same disease afflicting both. This virus family includes:

Filoviridae Virus Family:

These African viruses are the among the most deadly viruses  and can cause severe hemorrhagic fever in both humans and other primates. This virus family includes the dreaded Marburg and Ebola viruses. These diseases are clearly zoonotic but the animal reservoir remains unknown as does the method of transmission to humans. Recent studies seem to indicate the fruit bats may be these viruses’ host species. Person to person transmission occurs between those in close proximity and contact with infected bodily fluids but infection through small particle aerosols seems possible.


There are five identified species of the Ebola virus including Taï Forest (formerly Ivory Coast), Sudan, Zaire, Reston and Bundibugyo. All of these species except Ebola-Reston cause severe disease in humans but Reston can infect and cause disease and severe illness in other primates and pigs.  Ebola outbreaks historically exceed 50% lethality with some outbreaks reaching up to 90%.


Marburg virus was first identified in 1967 during a lethal outbreak in Marburg, Germany.   Another outbreak occurred in 1998 in Durba, Democratic Republic of the Congo at a gold mine.  The host species for the Marburg virus has only recently been identified as fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family.

The Marburg virus was weaponized in the bioweapons program of the Soviet Union.  Thankfully, naturally occurring Marburg only infects humans infrequently with previous occurrences in Germany, what was then Yugoslavia and a number of occurrences in Africa.

Paramyxoviridae Virus Family:

Paramyxoviridae viruses cause a number of human and animal diseases including measles and mumps in humans as well as newcastle disease and canine distemper in animals. Two particularly troubling viruses from the Henipavirus genus of this virus family are Hendra virus and Nipah virus which are known to infect humans, bats, horses and pigs.

Flaviviridae Virus Family:

The final virus family we’re going to look at are called Flaviviridae and cause both encephalitis and hemorrhagic diseases.  These viruses are found in arthropods, primarily ticks and mosquitoes, and some can infect humans.

Mosquito transmitted viruses in this family include:
Tick borne Flaviviruses include:

Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Symptoms

One of the most insidious aspects of viral hemorrhagic fevers is the fact that the infected often exhibit only slight symptoms early on and fail to realize that they have and can transmit such a deadly viral disease. Symptoms of viral hemorrhagic fever often include:

  • Bleeding under the skin
  • Coma
  • Delirium
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of Strength
  • Muscle Aches
  • Renal/Kidney Failure
  • Seizures
  • Severe Fever
  • Shock
  • Vascular instability and bleeding abnormalities accompany most hemorrhagic fevers

CDC West Africa Ebola OutbreakThe CDC provides a more specific list of Ebola’s symptoms:

  • Fever (greater than 38.6°C or 101.5°F)
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal (stomach) pain
  • Unexplained hemorrhage (bleeding or bruising)
  • Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to Ebola, but the average is 8 to 10 days.

Learn more from the CDC Ebola Outbreak Infographic.

Preventing Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Infections

Reduce populations of and interaction with host species by:

  • Reducing rodent populations through trapping, poisoning, eliminating habitat, eliminating food sources or the introduction of predator species like cats
  • Reducing arthropod populations through poisoning, eliminating habitat like standing water or fostering the development of predator species like martins, bats (if not a host species), chickens, guineas, etc.
  • Reducing contact with host species/host species waste by using repellents, repairing buildings, wear of proper clothing, screening, using bed nets, etc.
  • Safely removing host species nests and droppings

Avoid close physical contact with infected people and their body fluids is the most important way of controlling the spread of disease.

  • Utilize barrier nursing precautions including
  • Isolate infected persons
  • Wear protective clothing
  • Disinfect well and frequently
  • Safely dispose of instruments and equipment used in treatment

Read more from the World Health Organization and CDC on their suggested hospital-based guidelines, Infection Control for Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers In the African Health Care Setting.

Viral Hemorrhagic Fever As A Terrorist Weapon

The latest Ebola outbreak is grabbing international media attention not only because it’s one of the world’s most deadly viruses with a fatality rate of up to 90% but also because of the fear that such a horrific death generates.  Contrary to a number of recent news articles, hemorrhagic fever viruses could easily be used as a weapon by lone wolf or organized terrorists due to the relative ease of distribution. Transmission can as simple as providing direct contact of infectious body fluids or droplets with a target’s mucus membranes; nose, eyes, or mouth.  Some of these articles consider these viruses to be unusable by bad actors because of the number of precautions necessary to keep the attacker from contracting the virus but they fail to account for the rise of suicide attacks in recent years.  Think of the havoc an committed terrorist, infected with Ebola could wreak on the unsuspecting patrons of your local food mall where disposable silverware, napkins and communal drink stations are easily accessible.

  • There have been numerous rumors and news reports of terrorist organizations attempting to obtain bioweapons through the years including an attempt by the Japanese doomsday cult, Aum Shinrikyo which attempted to obtain access to a viral hemorrhagic fever virus.
  • Dr. Ken Alibek, former Deputy Director of the Soviet program Biopreparat has admitted that Soviet scientists created a Marburg virus biological weapon that could be dispersed in aerosol form.  Let’s hope that the specialists and stocks were both well accounted for after the Soviet Union’s collapse.

The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) classifies viral hemorrhagic fevers like Ebola as a “Category A” disease.  This class of agents are considered to pose a high priority risk to national security due to how easily they circulate among the population, their high mortality rate and the potential for social and economic disruption as well as their potential to create panic.  Other agents in this category A agents include anthrax, botulism (favorite of aging housewives but also a potent bioweapon), plague, smallpox and tularemia.

Genetically Engineered EbolaBetween outbreaks Ebola would be difficult for a terrorist to acquire but even between outbreaks there is the potential that bad actors could acquire samples from former bioweapons collections in Russia, Kazakhstan, Georgia or Uzbekistan.  These lab grown samples could even be of more virulent or transmissible weaponized strains.  Military experts are even more concerned that terrorists will acquire the assistance of microbiologists that formerly worked for state run bioweapons programs or genetically engineered agents that could be up to 100 times more lethal than the natural agents.

Due to the ineffectiveness of therapies and absence of vaccines, viral hemorrhagic fevers could result in significant deaths.  The worst case scenario involves the use of viruses that have mutated or been developed to be transmissible in aerosol/airborne form.  Even a ‘minor’ attack could lead to significant social disruption and economic loss.

Viral hemorrhagic fevers are a potential terrorist weapon as they are now easily accessible, easily reproduced (if one has little regard for the lives of others), low cost, offer a long incubation period and can be transmitted in a number of ways.

Prepping for Ebola or Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Supplies

The following items and supplies worth considering as you prepare for for viral hemorrhagic fevers or other pandemic diseases:

Dynarex N95 High Efficiency Particulate/Cone Respirator Masks, 20/bx Dynarex N95 High Efficiency Particulate/Cone Respirator Masks, 20/bxFeatures of the Dynarex N95 Particulate Respirator Masks:* Helps protect patient and healthcare worker from transfer of microorganisms, body fluids and particulate material.* Single use mask.* Fluid resistant.* Contains no fiberglass.* Meets CDC guidelines for TB exposure control.$18.75

Busse Fluid Resistant Coveralls, Open Cuffs, Large, 25/Cs Busse Fluid Resistant Coveralls, Open Cuffs, Large, 25/Cs* Busse coveralls are made of white spunbonded polypropylene.* Generously cut and styled for maximum comfort and mobility.* Fluid resistant. * Nylon zipper front. * Open cuffs at both wrist and ankle. * Latex free.


Molnlycke Barrier Protective Goggles, Each Molnlycke Barrier Protective Goggles, EachFeatures of the Molnlycke Barrier Protective Goggles: Can be worn comfortably over eyeglasses. Wraparound seal and built-in nose piece guard against splashes from all angles.


HQ ISSUE™ Tent-style Mosquito Net HQ ISSUE™ Tent-style Mosquito NetHQ ISSUE Mosquito Netting keeps pesky bugs at bay. PRICED RIGHT!


Additional Information on Ebola, Marburg, Lassa Fever and Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers:

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One Response to “Prepping For Ebola & Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers”

  1. preppersteve says:

    Thanks for the post I will be sharing this info. we should all take this very seriously.

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