Diplomate, Board Certification of Emergency Medicine
Chairman, Department of Emergency Medicine Ma'ayenei
Three more new diseases will be discussed briefly.
(Editor's Note: Dr. Leibman actually prepared this
article before the previous one which was said to be the
last one discussing infectious diseases. We take the blame
for putting in this one out of order.)
A 22-year-old hiker who died in New York after hiking was
found to have died of hantavirus, named after the town in
Korea where it was first discovered. Found in the excrement
of a certain field mouse, if inhaled through the dust
created by hiking in the dry dirt, it causes a bad pneumonia
that has very often been fatal in young people. We haven't
seen it in Israel yet, but be aware.
Jack-in-the-Box was the name of a chain of fast food stores
in the USA. People who ate there became very ill, with
vomiting, blood diarrhea, high fever, then progressing to
kidney failure and internal bleeding. Named the hemolytic
uremic syndrome, it was found to be caused by a strain of E
Coli -- the most common bacteria to cause diarrhea in
travelers and urinary tract infections. Somehow it had
learned how to make a very dangerous toxin in meat that
wasn't cooked properly.
We thought that the treatment would be easy, as we knew this
bacteria well, but an amazing article a year and a half ago
in one of the most prestigious journals proved that
antibiotics kill this bacteria and make it release all of
its toxins at once, making this disease even more difficult
to treat. Jack-in-the-Box has since gone out of business.
Lyme, Connecticut was the scene of a new disease about
twenty years ago. People who had mild cold symptoms later
developed characteristic rashes, arthritis and occasionally
heart disease. These all developed weeks later and it was
discovered that this was caused by a new worm-shaped
bacteria. It is transmitted by a very small deer tick, so if
you have discovered a tick on your body or have deer in your
neighborhood, you should keep this disease -- Lyme disease --
Babeosis found originally in the New England area and Rocky
Mountain Spotted Fever, originally found in Colorado, are
now found all over the world and are also transmitted by
ticks, albeit a bigger tick.
Again, we have come a long way. We have conquered polio and
small pox, yet new dangerous diseases have taken their
place. Write me in care of the Yated.
A message from Glaxo, sponsor of this column.
Flixonase is a medication that is inhaled that reduces
asthma symptoms in those who are chronic sufferers. It will
not help acutely, but it is a safe and proven method to help
prevent acute attacks. When combined with Serevent (see last
week), it provides all the protection recommended by today's