Viral hemorrhagic fevers (VHFs) are a group of diseases caused by ribonucleic acid (RNA) viruses from four distinct families. These diseases include Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever, Marburg Hemorrhagic Fever, Lassa fever, Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, and Yellow Fever.
What are the hazards associated with viral hemorrhagic fever?
Although some types of VHFs are relatively mild illnesses, many of them can cause severe, life-threatening disease with high fatality rates.
What can I do to protect myself?
Healthcare workers, emergency response personnel and others responsible for providing any type of medical assistance, including first aid, should always observe universal precautions where there is actual or potential exposure to blood and other potentially infectious materials. This includes ensuring that you are provided with and don surgical or exam gloves prior to providing any type of medical assistance.
Employers and employees can exercise additional precautions by implementing standard precautions. Standard precautions go beyond universal precautions by regarding all body fluids as potentially infectious, not just blood or other potentially infectious materials.
Get vaccinated for VHFs for which vaccines exist. An approved vaccine is available for Yellow Fever and there are experimental vaccine available for other VHF syndromes.
What resources are available to assist employers?
Safety and Health Programs
This example bloodborne pathogens exposure control plan can be downloaded and customized to fit an individual workplace. Also, conducting a PPE hazard analysis of the workplace can also ensure that all appropriate PPE is being utilized and employees are properly trained.
Training and Outreach Services
In addition, the education, training and technical assistance bureau provides free online safety and health training and outreach services (i.e., speaker's bureau requests, safety booths) upon request.
Lastly, the NCDOL Library offers free safety and health videos (including streaming video services) and related research assistance on consensus standards (i.e., ANSI, NFPA, NEC).
A-Z Safety and Health Topics
The consultative services bureau provides free and confidential onsite consultation regarding worksite safety and health hazards.
Which standards apply?
OSH has adopted the following standards that are applicable to viral hemorrhagic fevers in North Carolina. Note: Please also check the standards information and activity webpage to see if there has been any recent or upcoming regulatory activity on this topic.
- 29 CFR 1910 Subpart I - personal protective equipment
- 29 CFR 1910.1030 - bloodborne pathogens
Other Applicable Standards
The Which OSHA Standards Apply webpage can help identify other standards that may be applicable to your worksite.
Where can I learn more?
IIndustry Guide 49 - OSHA General Industry Standards Requiring Programs, Inspections, Procedures, Records and/or Training provides requirements for standards related to viral hemorrhagic fevers in general industry.
Compliance Directive: CPL 02-02-069, Enforcement Procedures for the Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens Standard, establishes enforcement policy and provides an explanation of the standard to ensure uniform enforcement.
If you would like to receive interpretive guidance on this or any other OSH standard or topic, you can submit your questions using the Ask OSH web form, by e-mail to email@example.com or by calling 919-707-7876.