Hemorrhagic Fever With Renal Failure Syndrome Follow-up

Updated: Oct 04, 2018
  • Author: Rajendra Bhimma, MBChB, MD, PhD, DCH (SA), FCP(Paeds)(SA), MMed(Natal); Chief Editor: Craig B Langman, MD  more...
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Further Outpatient Care

Recovery takes 0-3 months from the acute phase of the illness, usually beginning in the middle of the second week. The diuretic phase may last from a few days to weeks, and close monitoring for electrolyte imbalances and signs of dehydration is needed. Patient education regarding electrolyte imbalances and signs of dehydration is imperative. Follow-up care is needed as often as warranted.

The convalescent phase lasts for 3-6 months. Glomerular clearances usually normalize, and the concentration ability of the renal tubules steadily improves. Follow-up should be conducted on a weekly basis, until the clearance normalizes, and then on a monthly basis.

Long-term follow-up care is important, especially because hypertension and proteinuria have been reported on long-term follow-up.

Patients with hypertension, residual neurologic defects, concentration defects in the renal tubules, or persistent proteinuria should be followed on a regular basis.


Further Inpatient Care

Patients with hemorrhagic fever with renal failure syndrome (HFRS) who have established oliguric renal failure must be carefully monitored for water, electrolyte, and acid-base imbalance, which must be promptly corrected. Vasoactive agents should be used in patients with shock after correction of volume deficit. In cases with pulmonary edema, the use of forced diuresis by administration of furosemide, vigorous ultrafiltration, or continuous arteriovenous hemofiltration can be lifesaving.



Early referral to a tertiary center is essential to prevent complications and decrease morbidity and mortality.



Human habits can increase incidence of the disease; hence, basic preventive measures are required, including the following:

  • Proper storing of food and avoiding contamination by rats

  • Taking precautions during work or travel in farms contaminated with rodents

  • Avoiding camping in grain fields

  • Avoiding stocking straw stacks outside houses

  • Avoiding sleeping outside homes

The development of an inexpensive, safe, efficacious, and multivalent vaccine against this group of viruses will be the most effective form of prevention in endemic regions. However, the high genetic and antigenic diversity of the pathogenic hantaviruses, coupled with the sporadic nature of the disease outbreaks, pose considerable challenges for the development of effective preventative vaccines.



Complications that develop during the illness are rare.

  • Abdominal pain and back pain occurs because of retroperitoneal hemorrhage.

  • During the oliguric or early diuretic phase, renal rupture occurs, but it responds to conservative management and only occasionally requires surgical intervention.

  • Pulmonary edema and intraventricular hemorrhage occur.

  • Transient hypopituitarism occurs, causing an abnormal anterior pituitary hormonal response and leading to delayed diuresis and the late appearance of Sheehan syndrome. Atrophy of the anterior pituitary lobe with diminution of gland function may occur during the late stages of the disease. [13]

  • Hemorrhagic fever with renal failure syndrome is a self-limiting disease, and most patients recover without any sequelae; however, in few patients, neurologic and renal tubular defects may persist.

    • Defective sodium reabsorption is observed to occur in patients one year after the illness, causing increased sodium excretion.

    • Long-term monitoring of proteinuria and hypertension is essential.

  • Some patients may develop hypercalciuria and hyperphosphaturia due to tubular defects.

  • Although recovery from hantaviral disease is complete, chronic renal insufficiency and hypertensive renal disease have been reported.

  • Approximately 10% of adults with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) have Hantavirus-specific antibodies.

  • The Dobrava virus causes severe form of hemorrhagic fever with renal failure syndrome in Balkan regions of eastern Europe. It is associated with an increased mortality rate; patients develop hepatomegaly, with dysfunction observed more commonly than hemorrhagic manifestations.

  • Pancreatitis and orchitis may complicate hemorrhagic fever with renal failure syndrome.


Patient Education

The prevalence of the disease largely depends on human habits; therefore, patient health education is essential to prevent the disease.

Educate patients regarding the following issues:

  • Avoidance of living in barracks and sleeping in open areas outside homes

  • Eradication of rodents

  • Effective storage of food items

  • Early reporting of illness and obtaining medical advise

  • Avoidance of person-to-person transmission or nosocomial transmission

  • Need for a liberal intake of fluid during the diuretic phase of the illness to avoid dehydration and shock

For additional advice or information regarding the disease, patients are advised to contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (Tel: 800-CDC-INFO, email: cdcinfo@cdc.gov).