Medical Fun Facts Episode 78: Enteroviral infections

Medical Fun Facts Episode 78: Enteroviral infections

Hand, foot and mouth disease shouldn't be confused with foot and mouth disease. Foot and mouth disease is an animal disease and we don't have it in Australia. In fact, our Department of Agriculture and Water Resources has a large focus on keeping FMD out of Australia. The FMD virus is also a security sensitive biological agent in Australia's pathogen security scheme. Hand, foot and mouth disease though is relatively common in Australia and mainly affects children. HFMD is caused by the coxsackievirus group and is generally mild in nature. HFMD starts as a red dotty rash that goes on to ulcerate and form blisters. the blisters can occur in the mouth and on the tongue as well as on the soles of the feet and palms of the hands. The blisters normally last about seven days.

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Medical Fun Facts Episode 77: Dengue virus

Medical Fun Facts Episode 77: Dengue virus

The Dengue virus is in the genus Flavivirus which also includes Zika virus and Yellow fever virus. The Dengue virus is a single-stranded RNA virus transmitted to humans by mosquitoes. Dengue virus is also known as an arbovirus or arthropod-borne virus.

Unlike some other Flavivirus infections, human infection with Dengue virus, Yellow fever virus and Zika virus are not incidental because when infected, our cells produce enough replicated virus for a mosquito to carry it to other humans without the need for other animals to be involved.

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Medical Fun Facts Episode 76: Cryptococcus

Medical Fun Facts Episode 76: Cryptococcus

Cryptococcus means hidden sphere in Greek. It is the name given to the yeast phase while its filamentous sexual phase is known as Filobasidiella. The type species is Cryptococcus neoformans and it is best known for the capsule which is a virulence factor and rich in mannose and glucuronic acid.

There is another species which is found mostly in Africa and Australia, viz., Cryptococcus gattii. C. gattii has an association with gum trees also known as eucalyptus trees. So, in non-native environments, outbreaks of C. gattii can be found when gum trees are planted in non-native areas, e.g., Canada. This was seen when Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus was at its peak. Cryptococcosis was a common AIDS defining infection and the isolation of C. gattii occurred in places where gum trees, especially river red gum trees have been planted.

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Medical Fun Facts Episode 75: Bordetella II

Medical Fun Facts Episode 75: Bordetella II

Last week I started on pertussis or whooping cough. I looked at the symptoms it causes and the relevance of immunisation to preventing the disease.

Tonight, I want to mention diagnosis and antimicrobial treatment.

Diagnosis is usually based on a clinical suspicion, especially if the cough is typical and the patient is a child. In adults, getting clinical clues can be more difficult and it’s always important to ask about family and friends who may be ill with a cough. Not surprisingly, a story about an infected infant connected by one or two degrees of separation isn’t uncommon.

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Medical Fun Facts Episode 74: Bordetella

Medical Fun Facts Episode 74: Bordetella

Over the last week or so I’ve come across a couple of people with pertussis which is the medical name for whooping cough.

Whooping cough gets its name from the sound made, especially in infected children as they cough.

The cough is described as a paroxysm consisting of repeated coughs without breathing in which gets followed by a high-pitched whoop when the patient draws in a breath.

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