Case Study Report for Unknown #49
A new school for girls was opened in a larger village in Northern Pakistan, and the teachers were proud to have convinced many families in the surrounding villages to allow their daughters a basic education. The school was a success, and the 6-10 year olds girls quickly learned how to read and write and were even instructed in the sciences. However, 2 weeks before summer break, many of the girls and the teacher developed breathing problems that included severe coughing. Throat swabs were collected from the girls and sent to a laboratory in the next larger city for investigation. Introduction
The air is a complex mixture of dust, sediment, and airborne pathogens. Case study 49 dealt with the identification of unknown harmful pathogens that inhabit the upper respiratory tract. Haemophilus species, Bordetella species, and Corynebacteria diphtheria are common causative agents of upper respiratory illness and served as a lead for this investigation. Corynebacterium diphtheriae is a Gram (+), non-sporing, non-motile thin bacilli that can replicate without the invasion of deeper tissues. The agent secretes a powerful exotoxin that has the ability to break the epithelial barrier and travel to the heart which can result in myocarditis (inflammation of heart) when the larynx is populated. Paralysis of soft palate, organ failure, and sore throat are all signs and symptoms of Diphtheria. As shown in Figure 1, its unique irregular growth pattern is associated with granulated Chinese letters because these bacilli are overlapped and crisscrossed under the microscope. Diphtheria is a life-threatening respiratory barricade that is time-critical when administering treatment. An antibiotic along with antitoxin therapy is needed for a successful treatment. Likelihood of Diphtheria is rare; it has a low incidence rate in resource rich areas and only affects those living in poverty (Goering et al, 2008).
Figure 1. C. diphtheria...
Cited: Goering, Richard V. 2008. Mims’ Medical Microbiology. Elsevier Limited, China.
Granato, Paul A. 2008. Laboratory Manual and Workbook in Microbiology: Applications to
Patient Care. McGraw-Hill, New York, NY.
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