Bacterial Infections

Bacterial Infections

Bacterial Infections
Bacterial infections like typhoid, strep throat and some sexually transmitted diseases are infections caused by different types of bacteria. These infections are often treated with doctor-prescribed antibiotics. Either viruses or bacteria can cause infections, so it’s important to get examined by a doctor to make sure you’re prescribed the correct medication.

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    An Elizabethkingia infection usually causes severe symptoms and makes people feel very sick. The symptoms depend on where in the body the infection is. It most often affects the bloodstream, causing fever, shaking and chills. It can cause redness and inflammation of the skin. If it’s in the respiratory tract, people may have shortness of breath. Elizabethkingia can cause meningitis, leading to symptoms like severe headaches, nausea, vomiting and a stiff neck.
     
    Blood tests can make the diagnosis, but because the infection is so rare, the tests may have to be done at specialized labs.
     
    Keep in mind, however, that healthy people rarely become sick from Elizabethkingia. Most cases happen in healthcare facilities and affect people who have weakened immune systems, such as newborns, the elderly, and those with serious health problems like cancer, kidney failure or diabetes. 
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    Elizabethkingia is a type of bacteria that rarely makes people sick. When it does, it usually affects people with weakened immune systems. In the 2015-2016 outbreak occurring mostly in Wisconsin, most of the reported cases were in people over the age of 65, and all of them had serious underlying health issues, such as cancer or severe kidney disease. It isn’t clear how the people became sick. Smaller Elizabethkingia outbreaks sometimes occur in healthcare setting, such as hospitals or nursing homes, but early tests suggest that this outbreak isn’t linked to any specific facility, and the bacteria don’t seem to spread from person to person. 
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    Elizabethkingia is a type of bacteria commonly found in the environment -- in soil or water, for example -- around the world. It rarely makes healthy people sick. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 5 to 10 cases are confirmed in each state each year. Some small outbreaks occur occasionally, usually in a healthcare setting, such as a hospital or nursing home. The bacteria can cause meningitis in newborns, or meningitis, bloodstream infections or respiratory infections in adults with weakened immune systems.
     
    However, in late 2015 and 2016, a larger outbreak made the news. As of mid-April, 2016, more than 60 cases and 20 deaths had been confirmed. Most of the cases were in Wisconsin, with others in Michigan and Illinois. Health authorities said it isn’t clear whether the people died from the infection or from existing health problems. The source of the outbreak still had not been determined.
     
    Elizabethkingia is resistant to many antibiotics, but it can be treated with combinations of antibiotics. 
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    Can children develop infections underneath a cast?
    It's rare for children to develop infections at the surgical site under their cast, says orthopedic surgeon Laurel Benson, MD, of Rocky Mountain Pediatric Orthopedics. In this video, she describes the sterile environment created by the cast.
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    Adenoiditis is inflammation or swelling of the adenoids due to infection. The adenoids are a mass of lymph tissue that sits high in your throat, behind your nose and the roof of your mouth. They help to prevent infections, but are prone to infection themselves.

    Adenoiditis can cause symptoms including:
    • difficulty breathing through the nose
    • a nasal sound to the voice
    • snoring
    • obstructive sleep apnea
    Adenoitis left untreated can sometimes last for weeks and can lead to repeated sinus infections (sinusitis), with swollen sinuses and persistent thick green or yellow mucus. Children with adenoiditis are prone to ear infections because of the proximity of the adenoid tissue to the ears' eustachian tubes behind the nose. Enlarged adenoids can block the eustacian tubes, creating a breeding ground for ear infections.

    Usually, adenoiditis can be treated with antibiotics. If antibiotics fail to clear up the infection or if symptoms recur immediately after the antibiotics are stopped, the adenoid tissue may have to be removed surgically.
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    Colorado tick fever is a virus that is spread through the bite of a tick. It usually comes from a tick called the "wood tick," which is most common in the Rocky Mountain region of the United States (including Colorado, Utah and Montana) and parts of Canada (Alberta and British Columbia). This disease is most common in the spring and summer months, and in mountain areas. Symptoms can vary from mild to life-threatening, and they usually start about 3 to 7 days after the tick bite. They usually include flu-like symptoms, such as fever, chills, headache, an overall feeling of illness and muscle aches. Some people also have nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, a sore throat, sensitivity to light, a fever that comes and goes or a rash of small, flat, red spots. Serious complications that affect the nervous system are rare, but possible. Because this is a virus, antibiotics cannot be used to treat it. Treatment involves managing the fever, pain and other symptoms.
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    A brain abscess is an infection in the brain, usually caused by bacteria or a fungus. The infection leads to a build up of pus and inflamed and damaged tissue in the brain, which can lead to dangerous swelling. People at risk for a brain abscess include those with a chronic disease or a weak immune system. People with right-to-left heart shunts due to congenital heart disease are also at higher risk. Symptoms of a brain abscess include mental changes, such as confusion, language problems, irritability and drowsiness. People may also have headaches, a stiff neck, vision problems, seizures, fever, chills and vomiting. If not treated quickly, they may go into a coma.
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    Relapsing fever is an illness that is spread by ticks or body lice. In the US, it is usually caused by a tick bite. Both the tick and louse form of the disease cause fever that comes and goes, which may be followed by severe chills, shaking and sometimes coma or death. The tick form of relapsing fever often causes a fever that lasts about three days, then returns as much as two weeks later. With the louse form, fever usually lasts three to six days, followed by a less severe fever. Without treatment, both types of relapsing fever can lead to severe symptoms and death. Getting antiobiotic treatment as quickly as possible greatly improves a person's chance of recovery. Symptoms of relapsing fever include headaches, joint and muscle aches, drooping or sagging on one side of the face, nausea and vomiting, a stiff neck, weakness, and fever, shaking and chills.
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    A bacterial vaginosis test is a laboratory procedure in which a sample of vaginal discharge is examined under a microscope to look for signs of bacterial vaginosis, a vaginal infection with harmful bacteria.

    Your doctor will use a cotton swab to collect the sample of discharge from your vagina. Once at the laboratory, a lab technician may do one or more kinds of bacterial vaginosis tests. The laboratory professional might look to see if the discharge has a higher than normal pH, genetic material of the bacteria, an unusual odor or signs of bacteria -- mainly "clue cells," cells from the vaginal wall that have clumps of bacteria stuck to them. These changes indicate bacterial vaginosis is present.
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    Tick paralysis is a treatable condition caused by a tick bite. It causes loss of muscle function, which means a person can no longer move. The paralysis and weakness moves up from the lower body to the upper body. This usually happens over several days. As the paralysis moves up, the lungs can be affected, leading to breathing problems and the need for breathing support. Once the tick is removed, symptoms usually get better quickly. The root cause of the paralysis is a neurotoxin, injected into the person's body through the tick's bite.