Items in AFP with MESH term: Communicable Diseases

Hemolytic Anemia - Article

ABSTRACT: Hemolysis presents as acute or chronic anemia, reticulocytosis, or jaundice. The diagnosis is established by reticulocytosis, increased unconjugated bilirubin and lactate dehydrogenase, decreased haptoglobin, and peripheral blood smear findings. Premature destruction of erythrocytes occurs intravascularly or extravascularly. The etiologies of hemolysis often are categorized as acquired or hereditary. Common acquired causes of hemolytic anemia are autoimmunity, microangiopathy, and infection. Immune-mediated hemolysis, caused by antierythrocyte antibodies, can be secondary to malignancies, autoimmune disorders, drugs, and transfusion reactions. Microangiopathic hemolytic anemia occurs when the red cell membrane is damaged in circulation, leading to intravascular hemolysis and the appearance of schistocytes. Infectious agents such as malaria and babesiosis invade red blood cells. Disorders of red blood cell enzymes, membranes, and hemoglobin cause hereditary hemolytic anemias. Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency leads to hemolysis in the presence of oxidative stress. Hereditary spherocytosis is characterized by spherocytes, a family history, and a negative direct antiglobulin test. Sickle cell anemia and thalassemia are hemoglobinopathies characterized by chronic hemolysis.

Update on Immunizations in Children and Adolescents - Article

ABSTRACT: Over the past few years, there have been many changes to the recommendations for children and adolescents by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. These include dividing the immunization schedule into two parts (i.e., ages birth to six years and seven to 18 years, with catch-up schedules for each group); expanding the recommendations for influenza vaccine to children ages six months to 18 years without risk factors; expanding coverage for hepatitis A vaccine to include all children at one year of age; initiating routine immunization with oral rotavirus vaccine given at ages two, four, and six months; and adding a booster dose of varicella vaccine at four to six years of age. The tetanus and diphtheria toxoids and acellular pertussis vaccine (Tdap), quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4), and quadrivalent human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine are routinely recommended for adolescents 11 to 12 years of age. Tdap provides pertussis immunity in addition to the tetanus and diphtheria immunity provided by the tetanus and diphtheria toxoids vaccine (Td). MCV4 has improved immunogenicity compared with the older meningococcal vaccine. HPV vaccine protects against serotypes 6, 11, 16, and 18, and is given in three doses, ideally at 11 to 12 years of age; the effectiveness increases when the vaccine is given before the onset of sexual activity. Family physicians play an integral role in implementing new immunization recommendations and properly educating patients and families in the increasingly complex armamentarium of prevention.

Common Infections in Older Adults - Article

ABSTRACT: Infectious diseases account for one third of all deaths in people 65 years and older. Early detection is more difficult in the elderly because the typical signs and symptoms, such as fever and leukocytosis, are frequently absent. A change in mental status or decline in function may be the only presenting problem in an older patient with an infection. An estimated 90 percent of deaths resulting from pneumonia occur in people 65 years and older. Mortality resulting from influenza also occurs primarily in the elderly. Urinary tract infections are the most common cause of bacteremia in older adults. Asymptomatic bacteriuria occurs frequently in the elderly; however, antibiotic treatment does not appear to be efficacious. The recent rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria (e.g., methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and vancomycin-resistant enterococcus) is a particular problem in the elderly because they are exposed to infections at higher rates in hospital and institutional settings. Treatment of colonization and active infection is problematic; strict adherence to hygiene practices is necessary to prevent the spread of resistant organisms.

The Clinical Importance of Defining Family - Editorials

Slowing Global Warming: Benefits for Patients and the Planet - Article

ABSTRACT: Global warming will cause significant harm to the health of persons and their communities by compromising food and water supplies; increasing risks of morbidity and mortality from infectious diseases and heat stress; changing social determinants of health resulting from extreme weather events, rising sea levels, and expanding flood plains; and worsening air quality, resulting in additional morbidity and mortality from respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Vulnerable populations such as children, older persons, persons living at or below the poverty level, and minorities will be affected earliest and greatest, but everyone likely will be affected at some point. Family physicians can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, stabilize the climate, and reduce the risks of climate change while also directly improving the health of their patients. Health interventions that have a beneficial effect on climate change include encouraging patients to reduce the amount of red meat in their diets and to replace some vehicular transportation with walking or bicycling. Patients are more likely to make such lifestyle changes if their physician asks them to and leads by example. Medical offices and hospitals can become more energy efficient by recycling, purchasing wind-generated electricity, and turning off appliances, computers, and lights when not in use. Moreover, physicians can play an important role in improving air quality and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by advocating for enforcement of existing air quality regulations and working with local and national policy makers to further improve air quality standards, thereby improving the health of their patients and slowing global climate change.

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