Animal models for viral haemorrhagic fever

D. Falzaran, D. A. Bente

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Viral haemorrhagic fever can be caused by one of a diverse group of viruses that come from four different families of RNA viruses. Disease severity can vary from mild self-limiting febrile illness to severe disease characterized by high fever, high-level viraemia, increased vascular permeability that can progress to shock, multi-organ failure and death. Despite the urgent need, effective treatments and preventative vaccines are currently lacking for the majority of these viruses. A number of factors preclude the effective study of these diseases in humans including the high virulence of the agents involved, the sporadic nature of outbreaks of these viruses, which are typically in geographically isolated areas with underserviced diagnostic capabilities, and the requirements for high level bio-containment. As a result, animal models that accurately mimic human disease are essential for advancing our understanding of the pathogenesis of viral haemorrhagic fevers. Moreover, animal models for viral haemorrhagic fevers are necessary to test vaccines and therapeutic intervention strategies. Here, we present an overview of the animal models that have been established for each of the haemorrhagic fever viruses and identify which aspects of human disease are modelled. Furthermore, we discuss how experimental design considerations, such as choice of species and virus strain as well as route and dose of inoculation, have an influence on animal model development. We also bring attention to some of the pitfalls that need to be avoided when extrapolating results from animal models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e17-e27
JournalClinical Microbiology and Infection
StatePublished - Apr 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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