Disease, Whitmore’s: An infectious illness, also called Whitmore’s disease, that is most frequent in Southeast Asia and Northern Australia and is caused by a bacteria called Burkholderia pseudomallei found in soil, rice paddies and stagnant waters. Humans catch the disease by inhalation of contaminated dust or when soil contaminated by the bacteria comes in contact with abraded (scraped) skin.
Melioidosis most commonly involves the lungs where the infection can form a cavity of pus (abscess). The bacteria can also spread from the skin through the bloodstream the brain, eyes, heart, liver, kidneys, and joints.
The common symptoms of melioidosis are not specific. They include headaches, fever, chills, cough, chest pain, and loss of appetite. Melioidosis can also cause encephalitis (brain inflammation) with seizures (convulsions).
The diagnosis is by a microscopic evaluation of a sputum (spit) sample in the laboratory. A blood test may detect early acute cases of melioidosis.
The treatment of melioidosis involves antibiotics and depends on the location of the disease:
Mild illness: Antibiotics such as sulfisoxazole, or trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole.
More severe illness: A combination of ceftazidime or a carbapenem (imipenem).
Very severe illness (as with persistent blood infection): Intravenous antibiotics including ceftazidime or carbapenem possibly in combination with sulfamethoxazole.
If sputum cultures remain positive for 6 months: Surgical removal of the lung abscess with lobectomy is considered. Antibiotic treatments may be necessary from 3 to 12 months.
Melioidosis can remain latent (in hiding) for years and emerge when a person’s resistance is low.
The alternative name for melioidosis is, as mentioned, Whitmore’s disease. This is in honor of Major Alfred Whitmore (1876-1946), an English surgeon in India.
- Disease, Wilson
Disease, Wilson: An inherited disorder in which too much copper accumulates in the body. Although the accumulation of copper begins at birth, symptoms of the disorder appear later in life, between the ages of 6 and 40. A diagnostic feature of Wilson disease is what is called a Kayser-Fleischer ring, a deep copper-colored ring around […]
- Disease-free survival
Disease-free survival: The length of time after treatment during which no disease is found. Can be reported for an individual patient or for a study population. “Disease-free survival predicts survival. It always has. And there is a very big decrease in cancer incidence so there will be a survival difference.” (Dr. Larry Norton, in The […]
- Diseases related to obesity
Diseases related to obesity: Obesity increases the risk of developing a large number of diseases. These include: Type 2 diabetes High blood pressure (hypertension) Stroke (cerebrovascular accident or CVA) Heart attack (myocardial infarction or MI) Heart failure (congestive heart failure) Cancer (certain forms such as cancer of the prostate and cancer of the colon and […]
- Diseases, Infectious, Nat'l Inst of Allergy &
Diseases, Infectious, National Institute of Allergy and: This is one of the National Institutes of Health in the U.S. In formal terms, the mission of the NIAID is “to support and conduct research and research training (that) strives to understand, treat, and ultimately prevent the myriad infectious, immunologic, and allergic diseases that threaten millions of […]
- Diseases, inherited metabolic
Diseases, inherited metabolic: Also called inborn errors of metabolism, these are heritable (genetic) disorders of biochemistry. Examples include albinism, cystinuria (a cause of kidney stones), phenylketonuria (PKU), and some forms of gout, sun sensitivity, and thyroid disease. These are only a very few of the hundreds of known inborn errors of metabolism. Advances in the […]