One infectious disease I will be discussing is called Diphtheria. Diphtheria is a highly contagious bacterial infection, which mainly affects the nose, throat and occasionally the skin, but in more serious cases, it can attack the heart and nerves. Diphtheria is caused by a bacterium known as C. diphtheiae. The bacteria produce a toxin (poison) that is carried in the bloodstream and causes tissue damage in the area of infection, usually the nose and throat. However, if left untreated the toxin may spread to other organs like the heart, kidneys or nervous system where it can cause severe damage.
What causes Diphteria and what are the symptoms? Diphtheria is spread in fine droplets of moisture, which contain the virus. The droplets are produced when the infected person coughs or sneezes. Another person then inhales these droplets and may become infected. You may also contact diphtheria from clothes, toys or sharing drinking glasses with an infected person. The symptoms are runny nose, swelling of the larynx, sore throat, swelling of the skin or eyes, headache, nausea, skin lesions, double vision, and difficulty in breathing. What is the treatment available for this disease?
If you are diagnosed with diphtheria you will usually need to be admitted to a hospital so that your heart and breathing can be monitored. You will usually be given antibiotics to destroy the bacterium and you may also be given an immunization to prevent any reoccurrences of diphtheria. How can Diphteria be prevented? The major way of preventing diphtheria is immunization. The diphtheria vaccine will usually be given to babies along with tetanus and whooping cough in the first few months of life. A booster injection is usually given before the child starts school and again when they leave school between the ages of 16-18 years.
Another infectious disease I am discussing is called the West Nile Virus. West Nile virus is a potentially serious illness. Experts believe WNV is established as a seasonal epidemic in North America that flares up in the summer and continues into the fall. WNV season runs June 1-Nov. How is WNV spreaded? WNV is transmitted to humans and animals through a mosquito bite. Mosquitos become infected when they feed on infected birds. Human-to-human transmission of WNV does not occur. However, human WNV infections have been associated with blood transfusions and organ transplants.
What are the symptoms for this disease and treatments for this disease? The symptoms include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, and paralysis. Because this illness is not caused by bacteria, antibiotics do not help treat West Nile virus infection. Standard hospital care may help decrease the risk of complications in severe illness. How can the virus be prevented? The best way to prevent West Nile virus infection is to avoid mosquito bites . Use mosquito-repellant products containing DEET. Wear long sleeves and pants.
Drain pools of standing water, such as trash bins and plant saucers (mosquitos breed in stagnant water). Community spraying for mosquitos may also prevent mosquito breeding. Testing of donated blood and organs is currently being evaluated. The last infectious disease I will be informing you about is called Tuberculosis. Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria usually attack the lungs, but TB bacteria can attack any part of the body such as the kidney, spine, and brain. If not treated properly, TB disease can be fatal.
How is it spreaded and what are the diseases? TB is spread through the air from one person to another. The TB bacteria are put into the air when a person with TB disease of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, speaks, or sings. People nearby may breathe in these bacteria and become infected. Symptoms of TB disease include a bad cough that lasts 3 weeks or longer, pain in the chest, coughing up blood or sputum, weakness or fatigue, weight loss, no appetite, chills, fever, and sweating at night. How can the virus be treated and prevented? TB disease can be treated by taking several drugs, usually for 6 to 9 months.
It is very important to finish the medicine, and take the drugs exactly as prescribed. If you stop taking the drugs too soon, you can become sick again. If you do not take the drugs correctly, the germs that are still alive may become resistant to those drugs. TB that is resistant to drugs is harder and more expensive to treat. Do not spend long periods of time in stuffy, enclosed rooms with anyone who has active TB until that person has been treated for at least 2 weeks. Use protective measures, such as face masks, if you work in a facility that cares for people who have untreated TB.