Introduction to Markers of Infectious diseases
Nov 22, 2019
Infectious disease is defined by the pathology associated
with infection. Infection is the invasion of an organism’s tissues by
disease-causing intruders, their multiplication, and the reaction of host
tissues to these intruders and the toxins they produce. An infectious disease
can be the result of the intruder’s damaging activity, by its produced toxins,
by the host’s short falling immune defence, or by any combination. The
bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis is
notorious for its damaging consequences when not timely treated, and infection
with the protist Plasmodium falciparum,
causing malaria, can be lethal. The Hepatitis B virus causes complications with
the liver that can potentially be fatal. Also, infection by the Influenza B
virus has a significant morbidity and mortality worldwide, while Influenza A is
more common and less severe. Viruses infecting and affecting the
gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts are HBoV and HCoV, while HRSV is
limited to the lower respiratory tract.
Human Bocavirus (HBoV)
Bocavirus is a member of the Parvoviridae virus family. These
viruses generally infect the gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts. Some may
cross the placenta and cause congenital infection of the foetus. HBoV is a
newly described human pathogen that has been associated especially with lower
respiratory tract and gastrointestinal infections, predominantly in children.
HboV has been detected worldwide in 2-20% of all upper and lower respiratory
Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the
bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. It
is an intracellular pathogen and causing prostatitis and epididymitis in men.
In women, cervicitis, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), ectopic pregnancy, and
acute or chronic pelvic pain are frequent complications. C. trachomatis is also an important neonatal pathogen, where it can
lead to infections of the eye (trachoma) and pulmonary complications. Repeated
infections of the eyes that go without treatment can result in trachoma, a
common cause of blindness in the developing world.
Coronavirus is believed to cause a significant percentage of
all common colds in human adults. Coronaviruses primarily infect the upper
respiratory and gastrointestinal tract of mammals and birds. Six different
currently known strains of coronaviruses infect humans. The much-publicized
human coronavirus, SARS-CoV which causes SARS, has a unique pathogenesis
because it causes both upper and lower respiratory tract infections.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV)
Hepatitis B is caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV) that
affects the liver. HBV causes liver inflammation, vomiting, jaundice, tiredness,
dark urine and abdominal pain. Chronic hepatitis B may eventually cause liver
cirrhosis and liver cancer—a fatal disease with very poor response to current
chemotherapy. The first detectable viral antigen to appear during infection is
hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), which is most frequently used to screen
for the presence of this infection. However, this antigen may not be detectable
at early stages. The infection is preventable by vaccination.
Influenza A virus causes influenza in birds and some mammals.
Strains of all subtypes of influenza A virus have been isolated from wild
birds, although disease in wild birds is uncommon. Occasionally, viruses are
transmitted from wild aquatic birds to domestic poultry, and this may cause an
outbreak or give rise to human influenza pandemics.
Influenza type A viruses are categorized into subtypes based
on the type of two proteins on the surface of the viral envelope: H
(hemagglutinin) and N (neuraminidase). For example, the famous bird flu virus H5N1 designates an influenza A
subtype with 5H and 1N proteins. Each virus subtype has mutated into a
variety of strains with differing pathogenic profiles; some are pathogenic to
one species but not others, some are pathogenic to multiple species.
The annually updated, trivalent influenza vaccine consists
of hemagglutinin (HA) surface glycoprotein components from influenza H3N2,
H1N1, and B influenza viruses.
Influenza B viruses are only known to infect humans and
seals, giving them influenza. This lack of host variety (and a much lower
mutation rate than influenza A) explains why pandemic influenza outbreaks are
never caused by this virus. Although less prevalent than influenza A, influenza
B causes significant morbidity and mortality worldwide, and significantly
impacts adolescents and schoolchildren.
Malaria is caused by mosquito bites carrying protozoan
parasites belonging to the genus Plasmodium.
The parasites travel to the liver where they mature and reproduce. Typical
symptoms include fever, feeling tired, vomiting, and headaches. In severe cases,
it can cause jaundice, seizures, coma, or death. Most malaria-related deaths
are linked to the species Plasmodium
Monoclonal antibodies against P. falciparum histidine-rich protein 2 (HRP2) are widely used in
malaria rapid diagnostic tests as the parasite secretes substantial amounts of
the protein into the host bloodstream.
Human Respiratory Syncytial Virus (HRSV)
HRSV is the major cause of lower respiratory tract infection
and hospital visits during infancy and childhood. Natural infection with HRSV induces protective
immunity which wanes over time, thus people can be infected multiple times. Severe HRSV
infections have increasingly been found among elderly patients. Young adults
can be re-infected every five to seven years, with symptoms looking like a
sinus infection or a cold. In temperate climates, there is an annual
epidemic during the winter months. In tropical climates, infection is most
common during the rainy season.