Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Enterovirus 71 in the Philippines? A threat

A news from one of the TV station yesterday reported about the Enterovirus 71 which now kills more than 20 children and made 1,179 others ill in China. It is already causing an alarm in China.

A report from a website states that the EV71 virus which can cause hand, foot and mouth disease, has appeared before in China but this outbreak was only publicly acknowledged by authorities on lately.The children presented with fever, blisters and ulcers in the mouth, or rashes on the hands and feet resulting in brain, heart and lung damage to some of the victims.

Of the deaths the majority were children under the age of two - another 341 children remain in hospital, 27 of whom are in a critical condition; another 8 are not expected to survive.

Enteroviruses are bad news because there is no vaccine or antiviral agent available to treat or prevent the virus and they spread easily through contact with infected blisters or faeces, causing high fevers, paralysis and swelling of the brain or its lining. Treatment relies on managing these complications, which can include meningitis and heart failure.

Although the Department of Health already assured the Filipinos that the Philippines is still safe from the virus. But still we should be concerned on this since the virus thrives in tropical climate and usually prevalent during summer and rainy season.

Additional information from emedicine.com.

- Enteroviruses belong to the Picornaviridae family of viruses and are further organized into the subgenera polioviruses, coxsackieviruses (groups A and B), and echoviruses.
- Enteroviruses are transmitted predominantly via the fecal/oral route, although respiratory-oral spread and spread by fomites are also possible. Upon entry into the oropharynx, the virus replicates in submucosal tissues of the distal pharynx and alimentary tract. Viral particles are shed in the feces and in upper respiratory secretions for days prior to symptom onset. The average incubation period is 3-10 days, during which the virus migrates to regional lymphoid tissue and replicates. Minor viremia results, which is associated with the onset of symptoms and viral spread to the reticuloendothelial system (spleen, liver, bone marrow). Dissemination to target organs follows, and viral replication in target organs causes major viremia with secondary seeding of the CNS. Target organs include the skin, heart, and CNS.
- Enteroviruses are distributed worldwide and are influenced by season and climate. Infections occur in summer and early fall in temperate areas, while tropical and semitropical areas bear the brunt all year.

Let us all hope that this plague will not cause an outbreak in the philippines. It will just add more problems on our government and to the Filipinos

1 comment:

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