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Hsc 245 Week 2 Disease in the New Essay

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Disease in the News
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HCS/245

June 23, 2013

Disease in the News

This paper is going to be talking about a virus that has affected the local school population of a small town in Pennsylvania (The Daily Item, 2012). News about this particular virus hit the headlines of a locally circulated newspaper, The Daily Item. This has alerted the schools and hospitals in the area. The CDC calls this illness ‘fifth disease’ and there had been five cases of outbreak in the local schools. The virus occurs typically among children and is relatively well-tolerated. When it infects adults who are immune-compromised, however, it commonly causes complications. This virus is highly transmissible but usually disappears without any treatment.

The viral infection is caused by the human parvovirus B19, which commonly affects children between ages five and fifteen. B19 virus causes a childhood rash called fifth disease or erythema infectiosum which is commonly called slapped cheek syndrome (CDC, 2012). The virus was discovered by chance in 1975 by Australian virologist Yvonne Cossart (Reamy and Hodge, 2007).

At the onset of the infection, the virus-infected person will be observed with a low-grade fever and symptoms resembling those of a mild cold. When the child begins to look well and after the fever and other symptoms have subsided, bright red rashes will spread like a lace across the child’s face and torso. The appearance of rashes indicates that the child can attend school again because the disease is no longer transmissible or contagious. Since parvovirus B19 infects only humans, a person cannot catch the virus from a dog or cat. Also, a cat or dog cannot catch parvovirus B19 from an infected person.
While the disease is well-tolerated among young children, it usually causes complications to pregnant women or those adults with existing health conditions, such as anemia or frail immune systems. People with fifth disease can also develop pain and swelling in their joints (polyarthropathy syndrome) (CDC, 2012). This is more common in adults, especially women. Some adults with fifth disease may only have painful joints, usually in the hands, feet, or knees, but no other symptoms. The joint pain usually lasts 1 to 3 weeks, but it can last for months or longer. It usually goes away without any long-term problems. The virus can aggravate an existing anemia to chronic anemia by decreasing the body’s ability to produce oxygen-carrying red blood cells. The fetus of a pregnant woman infected with the fifth disease may also acquire anemia. Arthritis is a disease commonly affecting women who had the virus. Healthcare providers can often diagnose fifth disease just by seeing "slapped cheek" rash on a patient's face. A blood test can also be done to determine if you are susceptible or immune to parvovirus B19 infection or if you were recently infected (CDC, 2012).
Like all viruses, this infection has no available cure, only prevention. Fifth disease is usually mild for children and adults who are otherwise healthy. But, for some people, fifth disease cause serious health complications. People with weakened immune systems caused by leukemia, cancer, organ transplants, or HIV infection are at risk for serious complications from fifth disease. It can cause chronic anemia that requires medical treatment.
Once you recover from fifth disease, you develop immunity that generally protects you from parvovirus B19 infection in the future. The CDC strongly recommends frequent hand-washing. Fifth disease is usually mild and will go away on its own. Children and adults who are otherwise healthy usually recover completely. Treatment usually involves relieving symptoms, such as fever, itching, and joint pain and swelling. Infected people must stop the spread of the virus by confining themselves in their homes until the contagious stage is through. This contagion can affect a school’s population by as high as 10% - 60% (CDC, 2012). An outbreak can be prevented by awareness which the CDC facilitates with information about the virus on its website.

This paper discussed the potential hazard of the parvovirus B19, or more commonly known as fifth disease. The danger posed by this virus is non-lethal and completely tolerable by children but potentially serious to an adult or a pregnant woman. Fifth disease can cause a red rash like effect known as “slapped cheek” syndrome and causes flu like symptoms. The treatment is the easing of those symptoms and isolation to allow the illness to run its course.

References
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (2012). Parvovirus B19 and Fifth Disease. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/parvovirusB19/index.html
The Daily Item, (2012). Students’ illness prompts alert to parents. Retrieved from: http://dailyitem.com/0100_news/x1391759187/Students-viral-illness-prompts-alert-to-parents
Am Fam Physician Servey by JT, Reamy BV, Hodge J (February 2007). Clinical presentations of parvovirus B19 infection.…...

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