Health Watch — Infection: Finding the Source (Part 2)

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications  and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.



This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about fighting infectious diseases. Previously, we discussed how important it is to know the cause of an illness so doctors will know how severe it might be and how to treat it.

Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have developed a test that looks for the “fingerprints” an infectious agent leaves behind on cells involved in the immune response. Different viruses and bacteria trigger specific genes for proteins in white blood cells. By looking at the genetic material in white blood cells, doctors can identify the infection. Dr. Octavio Ramilo, a UT Southwestern pediatrician, says this kind of test could change the way doctors treat illnesses. While the test was accurate in the lab, the next step is to see how it might work in a clinical setting such as an emergency room.


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April 2007

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