Useful information on the symptoms, vaccine and treatment of viral and bacterial meningitis.
Meningitis is inflammation of the membranes (meninges) covering the brain and the spinal cord, a form of blood poisoning). Although the most common causes are infection (either bacterial or viral), chemical agents and even tumour cells may cause meningitis. The major bacteria that cause meningitis are Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilusinfluenzae, staphylococcus and meningococcus. Meningitis is a serious illness which can be fatal or cause long term damage to the brain and nerves
Useful information on the background, symptoms and treatment of polio plus advice on the polio childhood vaccine.
Polio (Poliomyelitis) is a virus which attacks the nerve tissues in the brain and spinal cord that can sometimes cause paralysis. It is caused by a virus called poliovirus (PV), which enters the body through the mouth, infecting the intestinal lining. It may proceed to the blood stream and into the central nervous system causing paralysis and muscle weakness.
The effects of a polio infection have been recorded since prehistory. Egyptian paintings and carvings depict otherwise healthy people with withered limbs, walking with canes at a young age, etc. The Roman emperor Claudius was stricken as a child; he walked with a limp for the rest of his life. United States president Franklin Delano Roosevelt contracted polio in 1921 and was paralysed from the waist down for the rest of his life as a result.
Polio may be spread through contact with faeces, mucus, saliva of an infected person or through airborne particles.
The first effective polio vaccine was developed by Jonas Salk, and inoculations of children against polio began in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on February 23, 1954. Through mass immunisation, the disease was wiped out, although it recently has re-appeared in Haiti, where political strife and poverty have interfered with vaccination efforts.
Rubella (also known as German Measles) is a disease caused by the Rubella virus. The virus usually enters the body through the nose or throat. The disease can last 1-5 days, but has a long incubation period of 14 to 21 days. Children recover more quickly than adults.
Facts on Fever in Children
Fever remains the most common concern prompting parents to present their child to the emergency department. Fever has traditionally been defined as a rectal temperature over 100.4 F or 38 C. Temperatures measured at other body sites are usually lower.
Fever itself is not life-threatening unless it is extremely and persistently high, such as greater than 107 F (41.6 C) when measured rectally. Risk factors for worrisome fevers include age under 2 years (infants and toddlers) or recurrent fevers lasting more than one week. Fever may indicate the presence of a serious illness, but usually, a fever is caused by a common infection, most of which are not serious. The part of the brain called the hypothalamus controls body temperature. The hypothalamus increases the body's temperature as a way to fight the infection. However, many conditions other than infections may cause a fever.
Malaria is a life-threatening mosquito-borne blood disease.
Five types of Plasmodium parasite can infect humans. These occur in different parts of the world. Some cause a more severe type of malaria than others.
Once an infected mosquito bites a human, the parasites multiply in the host's liver before infecting and destroying red blood cells.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection that can lead to a high fever, diarrhea, and vomiting. It can be fatal. It is caused by the bacteria Salmonella typhi.
The infection is often passed on through contaminated food and drinking water, and it is more prevalent in places where handwashing is less frequent. It can also be passed on by carriers who do not know they carry the bacteria.
If typhoid is caught early, it can be successfully treated with antibiotics; if it is not treated, typhoid can befatal
Diarrhea is one of the most common health complaints. It can range from a mild, temporary condition, to a potentially life-threatening one.
Globally, an estimated 2 billion cases of diarrheal disease occur each year, and 1.9 million children under the age of 5 years, mostly in developing countries, die from diarrhea.
Diarrhea is characterized by abnormally loose or watery stools.
Some people frequently pass stools, but they are of normal consistency. This is not diarrhea. Similarly, breastfed babies often pass loose, pasty stools. This is normal. It is not diarrhea.
Fast facts on diarrhea
- Most cases of diarrhea are caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites
- Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) including Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis can cause chronic diarrhea
- Antidiarrheal medications can reduce diarrheal output and zinc supplement is effective in children
- Some nutritional and probiotic interventions may help prevent diarrhea