Waterhouse Friderichsen syndrome

Waterhouse-Friderichsen syndrome A very rare (but serious) condition caused by an overwhelming infection of the bloodstream. The condition is almost always fatal unless it is immediately treated in a hospital with intensive care.

Cause Bacteria of the meningococcus group are the cause of this disease, and therefore MENINGITIS is often associated with this syndrome.

Symptoms The onset of symptoms with this syndrome is abrupt; within hours, the victim sinks into a coma as blood pours into the adrenal glands, leading to acute adrenal failure and shock. Rapidly enlarging purple spots appear on the skin.

Treatment Emergency treatment includes vasopressor drugs, intravenous fluids, plasma, and oxygen. No sedatives or narcotics are given. Specific treatment for BACTEREMIA is intensive antibiotic therapy given until symptoms subside.

Weil's syndrome A severe form of LEPTOSPIROSIS, an infectious disease caused by organisms of the genus Leptospira. Weil's syndrome was named after German physician Adolph Weil, who identified this syndrome as a type of "infectious jaundice" in 1886.

Cause The organisms are transmitted to human beings via the urine of a wide variety of wild and domestic animals, including rats, mice, deer, dogs, bats, foxes, rabbits, pigs, goats, birds, frogs, snakes, fish, raccoons, and so on. The germs attack humans by entering the skin.

Symptoms Weil's syndrome can lead to liver and kidney problems, vomiting, and MENINGITIS.

Treatment It can be treated with antibiotics but not prevented.

Whipple's disease A rare intestinal disorder that causes (among other things) abnormal skin pigmentation, found most often among middle-aged men. People with the disease become severely malnourished.

Cause Unknown, but probably due to an unidentified bacterial infection.

Symptoms In addition to the above symptoms, there is malabsorption, diarrhea, abdominal pain, progressive weight loss, joint pain, swollen lymph nodes, anemia, and fever.

Diagnosis Jejunal biopsy.

Treatment Antibiotics (penicillin and tetracycline) for at least one year.

whipworm infestation (trichuriasis) Whipworms are parasitic roundworms of the species Trichuris trichiura that infect the intestinal tract. Adults worms are 30 to 50 mm long and look somewhat like a whip. The eggs are remarkably hardy and may resist freezing; they can remain alive in the environment for years. About 2 million people in the United States are affected, primarily children and institutionalized patients.

Cause Whipworm infection occurs when a person comes in contact with and ingests whipworm eggs in fecal-contaminated soil. Whipworms are small worms about 1 or 2 inches long that can live in the intestines for up to 20 years. The eggs hatch, and the whipworm embeds itself into the mucous membrane. While the worms live in the large intestine (predominantly in the cecum) and appendix, they may infest the colon as well.

Symptoms Light infestation causes few symptoms, but a heavier worm load may cause bloody diarrhea that appears to contain mucus.

Diagnosis Examination of stool can reveal the presence of whipworm eggs.

Treatment Mebendazole can kill the worms, although a serious case may require more than one treatment. Recovery is complete.

Complications In very severe cases, dehydration and anemia as a result of the

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