Health
Author`s name Michael Simpson

Beware of Infections!

Infectious diseases mostly occur in warm seasons
Up to 95 percent of the infectious diseases that occur in Russia are diseases of the acute respiratory viral infection group. One of the most common is the flu. The Moscow Virology Institute attempts to predict flu epidemics every year. If a flu epidemic occurs, it is impossible to foretell its character. However, people can protect themselves from other infections, the majority of which occur during a warm season. Infections can be divided into two groups:

- There are vaccines to use for prophylaxis: diphtheria, whooping cough, measles, German measles, poliomyelitis.

- There are no vaccines to use for prophylaxis: chicken pox, scarlet fever.

Tatiana Markova, the chief specialist of the Yaroslavl Healthcare Department, described basic symptoms of most common infectious diseases.

Typhoid

This disease killed many people during WWI, although it hardly ever occurs nowadays. The infection is usually active in summer and in autumn. The organism that causes this disease is Salmonella typhi. This germ lives in dirty water and it often gets into the human body from natural bodies of water. Symptoms include: intoxication, fever, rash, swelling of the liver and spleen. The microbe corrodes the intestines, causing bleeding and diarrhea.

Diphtheria

This disease made dozens of people seriously ill last century. The situation has changed now – there are only three or five incidents a year. Diphtheria is basically prevented with vaccination according to national vaccination calendars. Adults over 40 years old are exposed to the disease most often, for they avoid making medical visits. This is a respiratory infection; it causes either a sore throat or a life-threatening diphtheria of the larynx and respiratory tract. The disease attacks the nervous system, kidneys and adrenal glands. Complications are possible during the early period of the infection. Diphtheria is fatal if it causes larynx or breathing-muscle paralysis.

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Hepatitis A

This is a rather dangerous disease, for it is hard to diagnose it until it actually breaks out. A sick person often has no symptoms of the disease at all. The illness starts like other respiratory ailments: high temperature, weakness, no appetite, fatigue. Jaundice, or the "yellow disease," as Russians call it, sets in after a couple of days of headaches and fever. Jaundice is a yellowing of the skin, eyes and mucous membranes. The urine turns dark with bile and the stool light or clay-colored from lack of it. Vaccine is the best protection from this horrible liver disease.

Salmonella

This disease often infects groups of people if they eat one and the same infected food together. Salmonella basically originates from poorly processed poultry and eggs. Salmonella microbes can live and breed for a long time while the color and the taste of the food remains the same. The incubation period of the disease lasts from six hours to three days. The symptoms are: high temperature, fever, stomach-ache, diarrhea, liquid fetid stool up to 15 times a day, often with abdominal cramps and nausea. Up-to-date medicines allow people to recover from this disease completely, although the disease might cause developing pains in the joints, or discomfort on urination.

Hepatitis B, C

These diseases are transmitted through exchange of blood or through sexual intercourse. Hepatitis B and C often accompany AIDS-infected people. This liver disease may cause cirrhosis and even cancer of the liver years into the future.

Measles

This is an acute respiratory disease. The measles contagion rate has diminished a great deal in Russia recently, although it accounted hundreds of sick people four years ago. Symptoms of measles include high fever, rash, runny nose, watery eyes and coughing.

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Tuberculosis

This disease occurs rather frequently, and people die of this disease every year. The first symptoms include fatigue, perspiration and fever. TB is a respiratory disease; the infection can live in phlegm for several months. Doctors usually vaccinate newborns against it, although a repeated injection is needed at the age of 7 or 14 years old, if there is something wrong with the Mantoux test.

Infectious meningitis

This is a very severe disease that attacks the nervous system. Fatal outcomes are frequent. This disease is often diagnosed in children under 14 years of age. The course of the infectious inflammation of the soft cerebral membranes is very acute. Meningitis is a respiratory and contact-transmitted disease. Symptoms include headaches, nausea, vomiting and high fever. Meningitis may cause deafening or cramps.

Scabbies
 
This is a very unpleasant infection, which is characterized by strong itching of the skin, especially at nighttime. Thousands of people catch scabbies in Russia every year - usually teenagers. This disease is treated by dermatologists.

Lice

Insects that live on human blood. A female insect lays up to six eggs a day. One louse lives up to ten days. This ailment is transmitted by personal contacts or through shared hygienic items. Lice cause strong itching. It occurs very frequently among soldiers and schoolchildren.

Syphilis

This is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases, although the syphilis contagion rate has been decreasing as of late. However, it is not clear if people have become more careful in their lifestyles. Probably, the sickness rate has improved on account of a large number of private hospitals that provide anonymous treatment to their patients. The secondary stage of the sickness is characterized with a rash that usually does not itch. Symptoms can include fever, swollen lymph glands, sore throat, patchy hair loss, headaches, weight loss and muscle aches.

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