The McElroy Lab studies viruses you might have heard of, such as Ebola or Lassa and others that you may never have heard of such as Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) and Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV). All of these viruses fall into a group generally called the VHF (Viral hemorrhagic fevers).
The VHF’s get their name because they sometimes (not always) cause disease in people that manifests as bleeding. This can take several forms, it could be oozing from IV sites, vomiting blood, having blood in the stool, or oozing blood from mucous membranes such as the mouth or the nose. While this sounds very scary, it isn’t necessarily the bleeding that makes the disease so severe! When people die, they die from shock (poor blood flow to the organs due to low blood pressure), which leads to organ failure and this leads to death. Our goal is to understand how the VHF’s make people sick so that we can design therapies that will improve patient outcomes.