The National Academies: What You Need To Know About Infectious Disease

The National Academies

What You Need To Know About Infectious Disease

Yellow Fever

Yellow fever is caused by a virus transmitted by mosquitoes; the disease cannot be spread person to person. It is typically found in sub-Saharan Africa and tropical parts of South America. Although anyone can get the virus, the elderly are at higher risk for a severe case.

Symptoms
Yellow fever usually follows a three-stage course. About 3 to 6 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito, the individual develops symptoms such as headache, fever, joint aches, vomiting, and jaundice. After 3 to 4 days, the person may go into remission, which is actually the second stage of the disease. Many people recover at this stage. But within 24 hours, others may move into stage 3, intoxication. During this stage, people may experience multi-organ failure, bleeding, and delirium. Severe infections with fever and internal bleeding result in death in about half of all cases.

Treatment
Although there is no treatment for the virus, many of the symptoms can be addressed. Individuals experiencing kidney failure can receive dialysis; transfusions can be given to those with bleeding problems; and intravenous fluids can be administered to avoid dehydration.

Prevention
A vaccine for yellow fever is available, and it offers the best protection against the virus. The vaccine, a live, weakened strain of the virus, is given as a single shot. For people who remain susceptible, the shot should be given every 10 years. Other precautions that can be taken include sleeping in screened areas to avoid contact with mosquitoes, using mosquito repellants, and wearing clothing that fully covers the body.

Sources:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002341/
http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/vis/downloads/vis-yf.pdf

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What do you know about infectious disease?

True or False: Major pharmaceutical companies have great interest in dedicating resources to the antibiotics market because these short-course drugs are more profitable than drugs that treat chronic conditions and lifestyle ailments, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Drugs that treat chronic conditions and lifestyle ailments are more profitable. Modern medicine needs new kinds of antibiotics to treat drug-resistant infections, but antibiotic research and development are expensive, risky, and time-consuming.

  • Correct!

    Drugs that treat chronic conditions and lifestyle ailments are more profitable. Modern medicine needs new kinds of antibiotics to treat drug-resistant infections, but antibiotic research and development are expensive, risky, and time-consuming.

Infectious Disease Defined

Microbe

Sometimes referred to as a microorganism, a microbe is an organism that is microscopic and thus invisible to the naked eye. 

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