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  Infectious diseases

Infectious diseases are diseases caused by any of the four pathogens capable of inducing disease in human beings such as a virus, bacterium, fungus, or a parasite. Foreign replicators such as these microorganisms invade the host and disrupt vital body processes. They stimulate the immune system to bring about defensive reactions such as fever, inflammation and other damaging symptoms.

Infectious diseases Infectious
Infectious diseases

Bacterium is a unicellular organism on the borderline between animals and plants, varying enormously in structure, physical and chemical properties and disease-causing capabilities. Fungus is a simple mold or yeast-like organism. Parasites are members of the animal kingdom, including one-celled organisms, worms and arthropods that live on or in the human body, getting nourishment from it and often causing severe chronic disease in the process. Viruses are fragments of genetic material incapable of independent existence hence, also called obligate intracellular parasites. These viruses can cause disease by entering living cells, taking over their operations at the molecular level, and using them as breeding grounds for hundreds of thousands of new viral particles, ultimately destroying them. Any infectious disease that can be easily transmitted is considered to be contagious.

Diagnosis of infectious diseases is done through various methods. These include physical examination, medical history, culture and imaging. The principal diagnostic tool is microbiological culture. Culture allows specific identification of the offending microorganism hence; this is considered to be the gold standard in diagnosing infectious diseases. Serological markers were also developed to aid in the diagnosis of infectious diseases. They help detect antibodies against an infectious agent in the patient’s blood. By and large, the most important aspect is identifying the exact organism causing the disease to determine the most appropriate treatment approach or plan of management.

Enumerated below are the top eleven infectious killer diseases which caused more than an estimated 100,000 deaths in 2002 according to the World Health Organization. In the communicable diseases category: 1. Lower respiratory tract infections (LRTI) 2. HIV/AIDS 3. Diarrheal diseases 4. Tuberculosis (TB) 5. Malaria 6. Measles 7. Pertussis 8. Tetanus 9. Meningitis 10. Syphilis 11. Hepatitis B and Tropical diseases

Pneumonias and pneumonitis are included in the subheading of lower respiratory tract infections. Diarrheal diseases are most commonly caused by a variety of viruses, bacteria or parasites. The children and infants make up a large percentage of deaths due to both lower respiratory tract and diarrheal diseases. The most probable reason is that the airways of children are small which can be easily obstructed while those afflicted with diarrheal diseases develop dehydration, fluid and electrolyte imbalance easily as well. Severe dehydration can lead to a kidney complication, an acute renal failure. Common childhood diseases include pertussis, poliomyelitis, diphtheria, measles (rubeola) and tetanus. Some tropical diseases include Chagas disease, dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF, a mosquito-borne infectious disease), filariasis (with lymphatic invasion), leishmaniasis, onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis and trypnasomiasis.

An infectious disease requires a host or an agent and a mode of transmission (e.g. blood-borne; a vector). An example of which is the tropical disease known as malaria, caused by Plasmodial parasites, mainly the Plasmodium falciparum. Other plasmodial species are Plasmodium malariae and Plasmodium ovale. It is usually through an insect bite specifically the female Anopheles mosquito, which introduces the parasite into the human bloodstream hence called vector-borne infectious disease. Many infectious diseases are transmitted by airborne droplets which may enter the airways through inhalation (e.g. common cold, also known as coryza and pulmonary tuberculosis).

Infectiologists or infectious disease specialists are the medical doctors who handles and manage infectious diseases. The specialists’ services are badly needed especially if the following conditions are encountered: immunocompromised state either in AIDS or after chemotherapy sessions; an infectious agent of an uncommon nature (e.g. tropical diseases); the disease is not responsive to the prescribed first line antibiotics; the disease might be dangerous to other patients and the patient might need to be isolated; failure to definitively diagnosed the disease after the initial laboratory workup.

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Zovirax is the brand name for acyclovir. Acyclovir is medication that is injected and used to treat the growth and spread of the herpes virus so that the body can defeat the infection. Acyclovir is an antiviral drug, it does not cure herpes, but decreas more...

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