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Patients suffering from viral haemorrhagic fevers must be handled specifically. The clinical diagnosis of these diseases in the initial stage is difficult because early symptoms are non specific. In Germany, specific diagnosis is available at two diagnostic centres with biosafety level 4 facilities. Five high security infectious disease isolation units for patient care are available in Munich, Leipzig, Hamburg, Berlin, and Frankfurt. In addition, a corresponding number of centres of competence are established to offer support and advice to the hospitals initially treating the patients and to the local public health officers. The decentralisation of these centres of competence is recommended to allow for more timely and reactive responses to VHF epidemic threats.The risk categorisation for contacts has proved to be very useful in practice.


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