Infectious Diseases

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Lazaro Castillo
04/16/2012
Infectious Diseases

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...
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