All About Viruses and Bacteria

Sicknesses Caused by Viruses

   Viruses can cause many different sicknesses. Here are some of the sicknesses viruses can cause and information about them.

Smallpox - A dangerous and infectious disease that causes rash, fever, small lumps to appear over the infected persons body, vomiting, and head and body pains. It starts with a rash, which then forms a bump in the person’s mouth. The bump breaks open and then spreads to the rest of the body. The bumps fill with liquid and dip in the center. The bumps break and form scabs. Small pox originated from humans thousands of years ago. It has two strains, variola major and variola minor. Variola major has a fatality rate of 30% and variola minor has a fatality rate of 1%. Small pox has been completely eradicated except for in laboratories. There is no treatment for it, but there is a vaccine.

Poliomyelitis - Also know as polio, it is a disease that affects the nerves and can lead to partial or full paralysis. There are three different types of infections and 95% of cases do not even show symptoms, or their symptoms do not last over 72 hours. Symptoms of this type of polio usually are general discomfort, headache, red or sore throat, slight fever, and vomiting. The other two types of polio have more noticeable symptoms. The non-paralytic type symptoms include back pain, diarrhea, tiredness, fatigue, headache, irritability, leg pain, fever, muscle stiffness, muscle tenderness and spasms, neck pain and stiffness, pain in front part of neck, pain or stiffness of the back, arms, legs, abdomen, skin rash, and vomiting. This type of polio does not cause paralysis. Paralytic polio though does cause paralysis and its symptoms include a fever 5 to 7 days before any other symptoms, an abnormal sensations (but not loss of sensation), bloated feeling in abdomen, breathing difficulty, constipation, difficulty beginning to urinate, drooling, headache, irritability,  muscle contractions or muscle spasms in the calf, neck, or back, muscle pain, muscle weakness only on one side or worse on one side of the body, quick onset, sensitivity to touch, stiff neck and back, and swallowing difficulty. These symptoms eventually lead to weakening of the muscles and paralysis. The virus itself can not be treated, but the symptoms can be and physical therapy can be done to improve weakened muscles. The virus can be spread through direct contact with an infected person or through that persons waste. After the virus gets into your system it takes 5 to 35 days for symptoms to appear. The disease is most common in the summer and fall and the most at risk for it are children, pregnant women, and elderly. There is a vaccination for polio, and it is over 90% effective.

Hepatitis - It is a disease that causes inflammation in the liver and liver failure. Symptoms include abdominal pain, breast development in males, dark urine and pale or clay-colored stools, fatigue, general itching, yellowing of the skin or eyes, loss of appetite, low-grade fever, nausea, vomiting, and weight loss. Some people do not develop symptoms, but do develop liver failure. Hepatitis can also be caused by bacteria, parasites, alcohol, poisonous mushrooms, and medication overdose. Many of these symptoms can be checked out by a doctor and along with a few other tests, you can find out if you have hepatitis. Many people can recover in a few months but pre-existing complications that may occur may hinder a successful recovery. 80% of people, who do recover, end up with chronic liver disease, liver failure, or even liver cancer. In some cases a liver transplant maybe an option available for treatment. There is a vaccination for hepatitis and it is available for the public to get.

Ebola - Ebola is a disease that causes hemorrhaging. Symptoms include sudden fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headaches, sore throat, and is often followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding. Laboratory tests show low counts of white blood cells and platelets as well as elevated liver enzymes. Ebola organs are not completely known, but it may have originated from primates such as monkeys and gorillas. There is a high fatality rate and no cure or vaccine. The treatment for it is to try and help with the patients symptoms. Only a few people survive this deadly disease and the ones who do develop an immunity to it. Scientists do not know why only a few people survive.

Hantavirus - Hantavirus is a disease similar to the flu, but is spread by rodents. The disease starts with average flu like symptoms like fever, chills, and muscle aches. For a short period the infected person feels better but within 1 to 2 days the persons quickly develops shortness of breath. This then leads to new symptoms that include dry cough, a general ill feeling, headache, nausea, vomiting, and rapid shallow breathing. This eventually leads to respiratory failure. A treatment for this is not yet available. Other forms of Hantavirus can be treated and people can be saved. The sickness is spread through mice and other rodent’s feces. The sickness can not yet travel from human to human, and can only be caught by breathing in dust from places like mice nests. There is no vaccine and even with aggressive treatment 50% of the cases are fatal.

Measles - Measles is a highly contagious and easily spread viral infection that causes tiny white spots, also known as Koplik spots in the mouth. Symptoms include bloodshot eyes cough, fever, light sensitivity, muscle pain, runny nose, sore throat and rash. The rash appears 3 to 5 days after initial symptoms and lasts from 4 to 7 days. The rash can be itch and usually starts at the head and spreads to the feet. There is no treatment for the actual sickness, but you can treat the symptoms with common things like Tylenol or humid air. Some children may take vitamin A supplement to help increase the chances of recovery. It is spread by sneezing and coughing of an infected person. This puts droplets from the nose, throat, and mouth into the air, which can be breathed in by others. A vaccination was developed and now almost everyone is vaccinated. Measles was very common before a vaccination was developed. Almost ever child had developed the sickness by the time they were 20. Most people who are not vaccinated are at high risk for infection.

Rabies - Rabies is a disease that is spread by animals and is very often deadly. After getting the rabies virus, it can take 10 days to 7 years to develop symptoms. Symptoms can include anxiety, stress, and tension, drooling, convulsions, exaggerated sensation where the person was bitten, excitability, loss of feeling in an area of the body, loss of muscle function, low-grade fever of 102 degrees F or lower, muscle spasms, numbness, tingling, pain where bitten, restlessness and difficulty swallowing. Drinking also can cause spasms in the voice box. If bitten you should clean the wound thoroughly and immediately see your doctor. If you are at risk for rabies you are given a preventative vaccine over 5 times over a period of 28 days. Rabies is spread through the saliva of infected animals. The disease spreads through the blood and to the brain, which then causes inflammation and other symptoms. Most rabies deaths occur in children. The most common animals to spread rabies are raccoons, bats, foxes, skunks, and unvaccinated dogs. If bitten by an animal you are to report it and the animal is to be captured. If rabies vaccine is given before symptoms appear then there is a high chance of survival. If not caught before symptoms appear, then survival rate is almost non existent. Seven days after first symptoms most people die of repertory failure.

Chicken Pox - Chicken Pox is a common childhood illness. It causes many red blisters filled with liquid to appear over the body. The initial symptoms are fever, headache, stomach pain, and loss of appetite. These symptoms usually appear 2 to 4 days before the actual rash or blisters. The average child has between 250 to 500 blisters. The blisters start at the child’s face and spread down. After the first 2 days the original blisters scab over and new ones form. Bumps often form in the mouth, vagina, and eyelids. Children with pre-existing problems like eczema can develop 1,500 small poxes. Most small pox infections won't leave scars unless they are scratched open and then infected. Common treatments include things like an oatmeal bath. Some anti-viral medications have been developed to treat chicken pox at the start of the rash. Giving aspirin while you have chicken pox can cause other diseases like Reyes Syndrome. It is very contagious and spread just from a sneeze from an infected person or from the liquid in the blisters. There is a vaccination for the chicken pox, and if it is gotten it can reduce or even stop the chicken pox that tries to infect a child.

Common Cold - A common cold is what the name implies a common viral infection. Symptoms include runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing, sore throat, cough, headache, postnasal drip, decreased appetite, muscle aches, or other symptoms. The common cold can be caused by over 200 different viruses. Children develop a temperature of 100°F to 200°F, while adults and teens develop a low or no fever at all. Symptoms of a cold will mostly revolve around the nose. A cold usually lasts about a week with a few left over symptoms afterwards. If it lasts any longer it can be a different serious infection. Common treatments include bed rest, cough or cold medicines to treat symptoms, and lots of fluids. Some anti-viral medications have been made to help lessen the symptoms and help the cold pass faster. Children have from 3 to 8 colds per year. Colds can happen year round, but are most common in the winter or rainy seasons. The virus is contagious the most the first 2 to 3 days, but after 7 to 10 days it should no longer be contagious. There is no vaccine for the common cold, but it is not very fatal and will not kill most healthy people.

Influenza - Influenza, or also known as the flu is a common viral disease. It is more dangerous than the common cold but still not as dangerous as most viral diseases. It is mostly seen as a threat because of its many mutations and a better ability infect people. Symptoms include fever, coughing, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches, body aches, chills, fatigue, vomiting, and diarrhea. There is no direct cure to the flu because like the common cold it takes many shapes and forms. There are some anti-viral out for the flu, but they are not completely affective and losing their ability to help reduce the flu severity. The flu is mutating to become immune to these anti-viral. There are vaccines for the flu, but only ones for a specific strain of it. The strains that are predicted to be the most dangerous that flu season are made into a vaccine. The vaccine is usually given through the nose. Some vaccines are still given in a shot form though. Most people, especially those of a younger age do not have very much resistant to the flu.

HIV - HIV, also known as human immunodeficiency virus, is a virus that slowly destroys the human immune system and leaves the infected person more susceptible to death by sickness as common as the flu or a cold. It can eventually cause diseases like AIDS. Some symptoms relates to HIV are diarrhea, fatigue, fever, frequent vaginal yeast infestations, headache, mouth sores, muscle stiffness or aching, rash, sore throat, and swollen lymph glands. Many people though will never experience symptoms of HIV even if they have it or not. HIV can be treated be an anti-viral medication, but only under cretin conditions. HIV can be spread through unsafe sex or contaminated blood. Blood tests can be used to determine if you have HIV or not. HIV can be treated, but not cured. There are also ways to slow the developments of AIDS, but still most people with HIV develop AIDS.

Mumps - Mumps is a contagious disease that causes the swelling of the salvia glands. Symptoms of mumps includes face pain, fever, headache, sore throat, swelling of the parotid glands, the largest salivary glands, located between the ear and the jaw, swelling of the temples or jaw, testicle lump, testicle pain, and scrotal swelling. There is no direct treatment of mumps; only ice packs can be used to help reduce pain. Things like soft or liquids to eat or drink is the best. Also try gargling warm salt water. It is spread by small droplets from things like a cough or a sneeze. It occurs most commonly in children 2 through 12 who have not yet been vaccinated for this disease. The infection though can occur at almost any age. It can also affect the central nervous system, pancreas, and tentacles. Even with major organs infected, the recover rate is still high. Most people will heal and then have a life long immunity to mumps. There is also a vaccination that can be given from 12 to 15 months of age, 4 to 6 years of age, or 11 to 12 years of age. If mumps persists for a long period or a child develops the symptoms of eye redness, persistent drowsiness, persistent vomiting, abdominal pains, severe headache, testicle pain, or testicle lumps call and talk to your doctor immediately.