Health Watch — Infection: Finding the Source

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.

Infectious diseases are the number one cause of death in the world. This week on Health Watch, we’ll look at some ways medical personnel are fighting infection. One challenge in fighting an illness is identifying the exact cause. There are any number of viruses and bacteria that can make one sick, and it’s sometimes difficult to tell which one is the culprit because it doesn’t show up in blood samples or in other ways that are easy to reach. Knowing the cause is important for treating the illness — and for knowing how severe the illness might become.

Dr. Octavio Ramilo, a pediatrician at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says when children come to the emergency room with a fever, it’s important to know which ones can be sent home and which should be admitted to the intensive care unit and treated with antibiotics.

Next: A new test that may be able to help doctors make that call.


April 2007

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