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Malaria


Definition:
Malaria is a contagious parasitic disease caused by a parasitic organism called plasmodium and transmitted by mosquito bites.  There are 5 parasite species that cause malaria in humans, and 2 of these species – P. falciparum and P. vivax – pose the greatest threat. P. falciparum is the most prevalent malaria parasite on the African continent. It is responsible for most malaria-related deaths globally. P. vivax is the dominant malaria parasite in most countries outside of sub-Saharan Africa, these species are mostly found in Asia, causing less acute symptoms, however, the parasite remains in the liver and causes setbacks for up to four years.


Causes:
The disease is caused by the malaria parasite (plasmodium) which is transmitted by an infected female Anopheles mosquito from the infected person to the healthy person.
Other ways of transmitting the disease:
Pregnant woman may transmit the disease to her fetus. It is also transmitted through blood transfusion.
 


Risk Factors:
·    Rain and increased water bodies are appropriate for mosquito breeding and disease transmission.
·    Young children and infants.
·    Pregnant women.
·    People with weak immunity are more susceptible to the risk of malaria.
·    People travelling to malaria infected areas.
·    Poverty and lack of health awareness and education contributes to spreading the disease and increasing mortality rate around the world.

Symptoms:
Malaria is an acute febrile illness. In a non-immune individual, symptoms usually appear after seven days or more (10–15 days in most times) after the infective mosquito bite. The first symptoms may include:
Fever, headache, shivering, diarrhea, coughing and anemia. If not treated within 24 hours, P. falciparum malaria can progress to severe illness, often leading to death. and chills– may be mild and difficult to recognize as malaria. If not treated within 24 hours, P. falciparum malaria can progress to severe illness, often leading to death.
Children with severe malaria frequently develop one or more of the following symptoms: severe anemia, respiratory distress in relation to metabolic acidosis, or cerebral malaria. In adults, multi-organ involvement is also frequent. In malaria endemic areas, people may develop partial immunity, allowing asymptomatic infections to occur.
 

Diagnosis
Early diagnosis and treatment of malaria reduces disease and prevents deaths. It also contributes to reducing malaria transmission.

Patient History and Clinical Examination:
When the symptoms of malaria appear, the doctor will examine a sample of your blood under a microscope. Two samples of blood will be taken at intervals of 6-12 hours to confirm the presence and type of malaria parasite and all cases of suspected malaria through diagnosis confirming existence of the parasite (either by microscopy or rapid diagnostic test).
Complications:
Most serious complications of malaria are associated with parasite "falciparum" infection, among the complications that may occur are:
·    Anemia.
·    Cerebral malaria.
Other potential complications:
·    Respiratory distress, sometimes is acute due to accumulation of fluids in the lung.
·    Dryness.
·    Liver failure.
·    Kidney failure.
·    Splenomegaly.
·    Cramps.
·    Fainting.
·    Death.

Prevention:
Preventive treatment:
In case you have to travel to malaria-affected areas you must take the prescribed preventive dose one to two weeks before traveling, and during your stay in those areas, and for four weeks after returning. Vector control is the main way to reduce the spread of malaria at the community level. It represents the only intervention capable of reducing transmission of the disease from very high levels to around zero levels. For individuals, personal protection against mosquito bites represents the first line of defense for disease prevention.

There are two main types of vector control intervention, which are effective in different environmental circumstances, they are:
·    Insecticide-treated mosquito nets.
·    Indoor spraying with residual insecticides.
There are some other ways of prevention, including:
·    Using mosquito repellent.
·    Using mosquito repellent paint on exposed skin, or by spraying insecticide to kill mosquito specially at sleeping areas. Do not use the paint on young children or infants of less than two months.
·    Concentration of the pesticide depends on the hours of protection, a high concentration of 50% gives longer hours of protection, while the pesticide which its concentration reaches only 10% provides protection of only 2 hours. 
·    Wearing protective clothing during activity times of mosquito, usually between dusk and dawn, like trousers and shirts with long sleeves, putting repellent paint on clothes and shoes before traveling, you may also buy treated clothes and using caps to protect face and neck.
·    Using long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs), if the place you stayed in has no air conditioning or mosquito repellent, and you must sleep under treated mosquito nets.
·    Filling ponds and getting rid of mosquito breeding sites contributes to prevention of malaria and limit its spread.

 

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Childhood Cancer

Childhood Cancer


Definition:
Cancer is a generic term for a large group of diseases that can affect any part of the body. Cancer cells have the ability to split rapidly and abnormally, and grow outside their normal boundaries and invade sticking together body parts and spread to other parts. There are 12 types of children's cancers. Leukemia and brain cancers are among the most common childhood cancers. The risk of cancers increases among infants while decreases as they grow. The cause of childhood cancer is still unknown.

Causes:
·    The causes are unknown, but some cases are associated with Down syndrome or other chromosomal abnormalities.
·    Aging of parents may increase the risk of children cancer.
·    Viral infections such as liver cancer ( hepatitis B ), and HIV .
·    Exposure to ionizing radioactive materials in childhood may expose the child to cancer especially leukemia.
Symptoms:
·    Depend on the type of cancer, infected body organ and the stage of the disease.
·    Leukemia may lead to anemia and frequent infections, or may lead to abnormal bleeding and bruising.
·    Brain cancer may cause frequent headache and nausea upon waking up in the morning, as well as general weakness and vision problems.
·    Cancer of the lymphatic system causes swelling of the lymph glands, high temperature, extreme evening sweating.
Diagnosis:
·    Clinical examination of patient.
·    Laboratory tests to detect leukemia and examination of spinal cord fluid.
·    Ultrasound, CT, or MRI.
·    Biopsy of a sample of tumor to identify its type.
Risk Factors:
·    Genetic factors are among the main causes.
·    Children who have been exposed to a large dose of radiation are vulnerable to cancer, those who have been exposed to chemical substances or drugs and those with HIV disease, as there is a relation between leukemia immunodeficiency diseases, whether inherited or acquired. 
Complications:
Cancer may cause many complications including:
·    Proliferation of cancer cells in the body.
·    Non-response to treatment or recurrence of the disease.
Treatment:
Treatment options include:
·    Surgery to remove tumor.
·    Chemotherapy, chemical drugs to destroy cancer cells.
·    Radiation therapy, the use of high-energy rays such as x-rays.
·    Stem cell transplantation using bone marrow taken form the patient or a donor.
Prevention:
·     Avoiding exposure of the child to radiation intensively.
·    Boosting the child's immunity through healthy food.
·    If the child has genetic defect or syndrome, he should see a genetic pathologist periodically.

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Immunization

Immunization:


Immunization is a process through which the person is given vaccines against the disease-causing microorganisms in order to stimulate the immune system to generate the needed antibodies.

How Immunization Works:


Immunization exposes your body to a very small, very safe amount of viruses or bacteria that have been weakened or killed. Your immune system then learns to recognize and attack the infection if you are exposed to it later in life.

Benefits:

·    It protects children bodies against diseases and infections. Children are affected with infections when their immune system becomes unable to resist bacteria or viruses.
·    Children are immunized with the aim to protect them against the common infections that might lead to severe complications or deaths.
·    Children are immunized to ensure better health and growth.
·    The most needed categories to immunization are those with chronic and immunological diseases as well as the elderly, especially when an epidemic outbreaks.
·    When applied to the society, immunization helps reduce the funds paid on treatment.
·    Adults can also receive immunizations against some diseases, such as hepatitis (B), smallpox, influenza, and others.

 Safety:
The World Health Organization (WHO) stressed that the vaccines are accurately tested and continuously monitored to ensure their safety even after production.

Effects of Delayed Immunization on Children Health:


The delay of immunization doses may expose the child to the danger of affecting the targeted diseases. So, the immunization doses should be taken on time.

Side Effects:
Vaccines are developed in accordance with the highest standards of safety. Immunization has side effects like all medicines.

General Symptoms:

·    Headache
·    High temperature
·    Pain, swelling and redness at the injection site
·    Pain in muscles and joints
·    Skin rash

Contradictions:

·    Severe allergic reaction due to a previous dose of a vaccine.
·    Severe allergic reaction to a vaccine component, including egg protein.
·    After consulting the physician, patients with human immunodeficiency virus [HIV] infection can take vaccines.
·    Neurological disorders, such as epilepsy and convulsions.
·    Children with HIV should not be given immunizations.

Precautions:
Immunization can be delayed in the following cases:
·    High temperature
·    Chronic diseases
·    People undergoing chemo or radiation

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Colorectal Cancer

 

 
Definition:
Colorectal cancer is a cancer that starts in the colon or the rectum and the chances of getting it increase among people over the age of fifty, and although it is a highly preventable cancer, it often causes death because people are very embarrassed to undergo the early detection. There are no known causes of the colon cancer.
Causes:
There is no specific cause of colon cancer, as it may be caused by several different factors, and the causes of cancer are still largely unknown. However, some causes may lead to this, namely
·    Chemicals and carcinogens.
·    Radioactive materials and radiation.
·    Hormonal or genetic dysfunction.
·    Hereditary and family history of the disease.
Risk Factors:
The factors that may increase the risk of colorectal cancer are:
·    Your risk of colorectal cancer goes up as you age.
·    Inflammatory intestinal conditions: Chronic inflammatory diseases of the colon, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.
·    A family (or personal) history of colorectal cancer or colorectal polyps.
·    Reliance on low-fiber, high-fat diet.
·    Red meat or processed meat.
·    Lack of physical activities.
·    Diabetics.
·    Obesity.
Symptoms:
Early symptoms of the disease: The presence of one of these symptoms does not necessarily mean the presence of cancerous tumor.
·    A change in your bowel habits, including diarrhea or constipation or a change in the consistency of your stool for more than two weeks.
·    Rectal bleeding or blood in your stool.
·    Persistent abdominal discomfort, such as cramps, gas or pain.
·    The feeling of abdominal pain and swelling of the colon, constantly.
·    Weakness or fatigue, lack of appetite for food, and unexplained deterioration of health.
·    Unexplained weight loss.
·    Unexplained severe anemia, with aging.
Diagnosis:
History of the disease and physical exam:
·    To detect a personal or family history of the colorectal cancer.
·    To detect a personal or family history of the polyps in the colon and rectum.
·    To detect any symptoms of the colorectal cancer.
Examinations and tests:
·    Stool blood test (for hidden blood in stool).
·    Screening with special scope (partial or full colonoscopy of the colon).
·    Radiographic Test.
Complications:
Complications depend on several factors:
The stage during which the diseases is diagnosed, the stage of the spread of the cancer cells, finding colon cancer at its earliest stage provides the greatest chance for a cure.
There are complications and effects of the type and stages of the treatment used:
·    The side effects of chemotherapy and radiation.
·    The side effects of surgical treatment.
·    Failure to respond to treatment or reoccurrence of the disease.
Treatment:
·    Treatment options depend on the following:
1.    Type of tumor.
2.    Place of tumor.
3.    Stage and spread of tumor.
4.    General condition of the patient.
5.    Having other diseases.
·    Methods of treatment:
1.    Surgical treatment.
2.    Chemotherapy.
3.    Radiation therapy.
4.    Immunotherapy.

Prevention:
Methods to prevent the colorectal cancer:
·    Quit Smoking.
·    Avoid obesity and maintain normal weight.
·    Reduce fat, especially saturated fats.
·    Eat fruits, vegetables and healthy food rich in fiber.
·    Exercise regularly.
·    Consult your doctor if there are abnormal changes in your body.

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HIV/AIDS

 

AIDS


What is AIDS?
The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a subgroup of retrovirus. Two types of HIV have been identified; HIV-1 and HIV-2. These viruses share similar epidemiological characteristics although they are relatively distinct serologically and geographically. HIV-2 has been found to be less pathogenic than HIV-1.
The HIV virus attacks the immune system, which is the body’s defense against different types of infections and certain types of cancers, and therefore the body loses its ability to fight infectious viruses and cancers, this virus is called (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), or HIV.
The most advanced stage of HIV infection is Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), which can take from 8 to 10 years to develop. Those who contracted the virus can live for some years without apparent symptoms, however majority of patients in the developing countries die within three years from being diagnosed with the HIV.

Methods of infection:


How do you get HIV or AIDS?
Most commonly, people get or transmit HIV through semen and vaginal fluids during sexual intercourse without using a condom, and most of the cases worldwide are between men and women and in developed countries in particular, homosexuality is the primary means of the transmission. In addition to sexual intercourse the HIV can be transmitted through sharing drug needles contaminated with blood infected with the virus, and through transmission of blood or its products from an infected person. It is also transmitted from an infected mother to her baby before, during and immediately after birth.

Mother-to-Child transmission of HIV during Pregnancy?
Mother-to-child transmission of HIV is the spread of HIV from an HIV-infected pregnant woman to her child through the blood and infection is more likely to occur if the mother is infected recently or at an advanced stage of Aids. Likewise the HIV can be transmitted during delivery when the baby is exposed to his mother's blood and in some cases through the breast milk. Transmission of HIV from mother to her baby constitutes 30% of all cases.

Can HIV be transmitted through blood?
Yes, if it is contaminated with the virus. Currently, safe blood transfusion system is applying throughout the Kingdom by blood screening for HIV virus and others.
 
Can AIDS be transmitted through injection?
Yes, if injection utensils are contaminated with HIV-infected blood. Avoid using the injection unless it is a must. Make sure that the needles and syringes are kept in sterilized containers.

Can AIDS be transmitted through insect bites or usual contact with an infected person?
HIV infection cannot be transmitted through insect bites, touching, hand-shaking, sharing food and drink tools, and using same toilets, bathroom and swimming pool, working or sleeping in room with an infected person.
 
Can AIDS be transmitted through usual coexistence?
HIV infection can't be transmitted through normal social activities; such as shaking hands, or travelling in the same bus, or eating from the same utensils; and it is also not transmitted through hugging or kissing. Mosquitoes and insects do not spread the virus and it is not transmitted through the air or drinking.
 
Do sexually-transmitted diseases increase risk for HIV infection?
Yes, many of sexually-transmitted diseases (STD) increase the risks for HIV infection and its transmission to others. These risks include: increase the chances of HIV transmission by about 50-300 times in the case of a genital ulcer, and increases the likelihood of infection with HIV in the case of a genital infection for several reasons:
·    The virus can spread easily through the genital ulcer in the skin or mucous membranes.
·    The virus may attack many of the white blood cells in the genital secretion caused by sexually transmitted infections.
·    A large amount of the virus exists in the genital ulcer and fluids (such as semen and cervical secretions) for patients with certain sexually transmitted infections such as: gonorrhea and genital herpes, syphilis and chancroid.

Diagnosis:


How HIV infection is diagnosed?
Blood tests are the most common way to diagnose HIV, looking for antibodies to the virus. The antibodies are special type of protein to fight the virus and can take the body anywhere from 1-3 months to develop them.

There are two types of antibodies testing for diagnosing HIV and AIDs, namely:
·     ELISA Test, which stands for enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.
·    Western Bolt.


Symptoms:
The symptoms of HIV vary depending on the stage of infection. Though people living with HIV tend to be most infectious in the first few months, many are unaware of their status until later stages. The first few weeks after initial infection, individuals may experience no symptoms or an influenza-like illness including fever, headache, rash or sore throat.

As the infection progressively weakens the immune system, an individual can develop other signs and symptoms, such as swollen lymph nodes, weight loss, fever, diarrhea and cough. Without treatment, they could also develop severe illnesses such as tuberculosis, cryptococcal meningitis, cancers and other diseases.


Risk factors:
Behaviors and conditions that put individuals at greater risk of contracting HIV include:
·    Persons having taboo sex and homosexuality;
·    Having another sexually transmitted infections which cause ulcers in the vaginal organs, making it easier for the virus to enter the body;
·    Sharing contaminated needles, particularly by drug users;
·    Experiencing accidental needle stick injuries, including among health workers.


Treatment:


Is there a cure for HIV and AIDS?
There are a number of medications used to treat infections associated with AIDS; they also act to prevent viral replication. They don't cure HIV infection; rather they delay the onset of symptoms of AIDS and death.

The focus now is on combination of drugs including new drugs called protease inhibitors which makes treatment very expensive, and the current policy of the World Health Organization (WHO) doesn't recommend using anti-retroviral drugs. Instead it calls for strengthening clinical therapeutic management of opportunistic infection associated with HIV such as: tuberculosis, diarrhea, and welfare programs that have shown the best results to improve the quality of life and prolong the survival of people living with HIV AIDS.


Prevention:
·    Avoiding sex outside of marriage, and it is also important to avoid homosexuality.
·    Using condom if one of the spouses is infected with the disease.
·    Don't share syringes or piercing tools or razors.
·    Until now there's no cure for HIV/AIDS.

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