Deep Learning Technology: Sebastian Arnold, Betty van Aken, Paul Grundmann, Felix A. Gers and Alexander Löser. Learning Contextualized Document Representations for Healthcare Answer Retrieval. The Web Conference 2020 (WWW'20)
Funded by The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy; Grant: 01MD19013D, Smart-MD Project, Digital Technologies
Airborne diseases include any that are caused via transmission through the air. Many airborne diseases are of great medical importance. The pathogens transmitted may be any kind of microbe, and they may be spread in aerosols, dust or liquids. The aerosols might be generated from sources of infection such as the bodily secretions of an infected animal or person, or biological wastes such as accumulate in lofts, caves, garbage and the like. Such infected aerosols may stay suspended in air currents long enough to travel for considerable distances, though the rate of infection decreases sharply with the distance between the source and the organism infected.
Airborne pathogens or allergens often cause inflammation in the nose, throat, sinuses and the lungs. This is caused by the inhalation of these pathogens that affect a person's respiratory system or even the rest of the body. Sinus congestion, coughing and sore throats are examples of inflammation of the upper respiratory air way due to these airborne agents. Air pollution plays a significant role in airborne diseases which is linked to asthma. Pollutants are said to influence lung function by increasing air way inflammation.
Many common infections can spread by airborne transmission at least in some cases, including: Anthrax (inhalational), Chickenpox, Influenza, Measles, Smallpox, Cryptococcosis, and Tuberculosis.
Airborne diseases can also affect non-humans. For example, Newcastle disease is an avian disease that affects many types of domestic poultry worldwide which is transmitted via airborne contamination.
Often, airborne pathogens or allergens cause inflammation in the nose, throat, sinuses, and the upper airway lungs. Upper airway inflammation causes coughing congestion, and sore throat. This is caused by the inhalation of these pathogens that affect a person's respiratory system or even the rest of the body. Sinus congestion, coughing and sore throats are examples of inflammation of the upper respiratory air way due to these airborne agents.
Some ways to prevent airborne diseases include washing hands, using appropriate hand disinfection, getting regular immunizations against diseases believed to be locally present, wearing a respirator and limiting time spent in the presence of any patient likely to be a source of infection.
Exposure to a patient or animal with an airborne disease does not guarantee receiving the disease. Because of the changes in host immunity and how much the host was exposed to the particles in the air makes a difference to how the disease affects the body.
Antibiotics are not prescribed for patients to control viral infections. They may however be prescribed to a flu patient for instance, to control or prevent bacterial secondary infections. They also may be used in dealing with air-borne bacterial primary infections, such as pneumonic plague.
Additionally the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has told consumers about vaccination and following careful hygiene and sanitation protocols for airborne disease prevention. Consumers also have access to preventive measures like UV Air purification devices that FDA and EPA-certified laboratory test data has verified as effective in inactivating a broad array of airborne infectious diseases. Many public health specialists recommend social distancing to reduce the transmission of airborne infections.
Dogs will typically recover from kennel cough within a few weeks. However, secondary infections could lead to complications that could do more harm than the disease itself. Several opportunistic invaders have been recovered from the respiratory tracts of dogs with kennel cough, including Streptococcus, Pasteurella, Pseudomonas, and various coliforms. These bacteria have the potential to cause pneumonia or sepsis, which drastically increase the severity of the disease. These complications are evident in thoracic radiographic examinations. Findings will be mild in animals affected only by kennel cough, while those with complications may have evidence of segmental atelectasis and other severe side effects.
As of March 2020, it was unknown if past infection provides effective and long-term immunity in people who recover from the disease. Immunity is seen as likely, based on the behaviour of other coronaviruses, but cases in which recovery from COVID-19 have been followed by positive tests for coronavirus at a later date have been reported. These cases are believed to be worsening of a lingering infection rather than re-infection.
Individuals may experience distress from quarantine, travel restrictions, side effects of treatment or fear of the infection itself. To address these concerns, the National Health Commission of China published a national guideline for psychological crisis intervention on 27 January 2020.
The Lancet published a 14-page call for action focusing on the UK and stated conditions were such that a range of mental health issues were likely to become more common. BBC quoted Rory O'Connor in saying, "Increased social isolation, loneliness, health anxiety, stress and an economic downturn are a perfect storm to harm people's mental health and wellbeing."
To increase their effectiveness, vaccines should be administered as soon as possible after a dog enters a high-risk area, such as a shelter. 10 to 14 days are required for partial immunity to develop. Administration of B. bronchiseptica and canine-parainfluenza vaccines may then be continued routinely, especially during outbreaks of kennel cough. There are several methods of administration, including parenteral and intranasal. However, the intranasal method has been recommended when exposure is imminent, due to a more rapid and localized protection. Several intranasal vaccines have been developed that contain canine adenovirus in addition to B bronchiseptica and canine-parainfluenza virus antigens. Studies have thus far not been able to determine which formula of vaccination is the most efficient. Adverse effects of vaccinations are mild, but the most common effect observed up to 30 days after administration is nasal discharge. Vaccinations are not always effective. In one study it was found that 43.3% of all dogs in the study population with respiratory disease had in fact been vaccinated.
Numerous factors have been suggested and linked to a higher risk of acquiring the infection, inclusive of malnutrition, vitamin A deficiency, absence of breastfeeding during the early stages of life, environmental pollution and overcrowding.
Parainfluenza viruses last only a few hours in the environment and are inactivated by soap and water. Furthermore, the virus can also be easily destroyed using common hygiene techniques and detergents, disinfectants and antiseptics.
Environmental factors which are important for HPIV survival are pH, humidity, temperature and the medium the virus in found within. The optimal pH is around the physiologic pH values (7.4 to 8.0), whilst at high temperatures (above 37 °C) and low humidity, infectivity reduces.
The majority of transmission has been linked to close contact, especially in nosocomial infections. Chronic care facilities and doctors' surgeries are also known to be transmission 'hotspots' with transmission occurring via aerosols, large droplets and also fomites (contaminated surfaces).
The exact infectious dose remains unknown.
Preventing Valley fever is challenging because it is difficult to avoid breathing in the fungus should it be present, however, the public health effect of the disease is essential to understand in areas where the fungus is endemic. Enhancing surveillance of Coccidiodomycosis is key to preparedness in the medical field in addition to improving diagnostics for early infections. Currently there are no completely effective preventive measures available for people who live or travel through Valley Fever -endemic areas. Recommended preventive measures include avoiding airborne dust or dirt, but this does not guarantee protection against infection. People in certain occupations may be advised to wear face masks. The use of air filtration indoors is also helpful, in addition to keeping skin injuries clean and covered to avoid skin infection.
In 1998-2011, there were 111,117 cases of coccidioidomycosis in the U.S. that were logged into the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS). Since many U.S. states do not require reporting of coccidioidomycosis, the actual numbers can be higher. The United States' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) called the disease a "silent epidemic" and acknowledged that there is no proven anticoccidioidal vaccine available. Studies done in the past show that the cost benefit of a vaccine is most notable among infants, teens, and immigrant adults, with negative cost-benefit results among older age groups.
Raising both surveillance and awareness of the disease while medical researchers are developing a human vaccine can positively contribute towards prevention efforts. Research demonstrates that patients from endemic areas who are aware of the disease are most likely to request diagnostic testing for coccidioidomycosis. Presently, Meridian Bioscience manufactures the so-called "EIA test" to diagnose the Valley fever, which however is known for producing a fair quantity of false positives. Currently, recommended prevention measures can include type-of-exposure-based respirator protection for persons engaged in agriculture, construction and others working outdoors in endemic areas. Dust control measures such as planting grass and wetting the soil, and also limiting exposure to dust storms are advisable for residential areas in endemic regions.
There are several populations that have a higher risk for contracting coccidioidomycosis and developing the advanced disseminated version of the disease. Populations with exposure to the airborne arthroconidia working in agriculture and construction have a higher risk. Outbreaks have also been linked to earthquakes, windstorms and military training exercises where the ground is disturbed. Historically an infection is more likely to occur in males than females, although this could be attributed to occupation rather than gender specific. Women who are pregnant and immediately postpartum are at a high risk of infection and dissemination. There is also an association between stage of pregnancy and severity of the disease, with third trimester women being more likely to develop dissemination. Presumably this is related to highly elevated hormonal levels, which stimulate growth and maturation of spherules and subsequent release of endospores. Certain ethnic populations are more susceptible to disseminated coccioidomycosis. The risk of dissemination is 175 times greater in Filipinos and 10 times greater in African Americans than non-Hispanic whites. Individuals with a weakened immune system are also more susceptible to the disease. In particular, individuals with HIV and diseases that impair T-cell function. Individuals with pre-existing conditions such as diabetes are also at a higher risk. Age also affects the severity of the disease, with more than one third of deaths being in the 65-84 age group.
Common complications include pneumonia, bronchitis, encephalopathy, earache, and seizures. Most healthy older children and adults fully recover, but those with comorbid conditions have a higher risk of morbidity and mortality.
Infection in newborns is particularly severe. Pertussis is fatal in an estimated 1.6% of hospitalized US infants under one year of age. First-year infants are also more likely to develop complications, such as: pneumonia (20%), encephalopathy (0.3%), seizures (1%), failure to thrive, and death (1%)—perhaps due to the ability of the bacterium to suppress the immune system. Pertussis can cause severe paroxysm-induced cerebral hypoxia, and 50% of infants admitted to hospital suffer apneas. Reported fatalities from pertussis in infants increased substantially from 1990 to 2010.
The primary method of prevention for pertussis is vaccination. Evidence is insufficient to determine the effectiveness of antibiotics in those who have been exposed, but are without symptoms. Preventive antibiotics, however, are still frequently used in those who have been exposed and are at high risk of severe disease (such as infants).
Contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP - also known as lung plague), is a contagious bacterial disease that afflicts the lungs of cattle, buffalo, zebu, and yaks.
It is caused by the bacterium "Mycoplasma mycoides", and the symptoms are pneumonia and inflammation of the lung membranes. The incubation period is 20 to 123 days. It was particularly widespread in the United States in 1879, affecting herds from several states. The outbreak was so severe that it resulted in a trade embargo by the British government, blocking U.S. cattle exports to Britain and Canada. This prompted the United States to establish the Bureau of Animal Industry, set up in 1884 to eradicate the disease, which it succeeded in doing by 1892.
Louis Willems, a Belgian doctor, began pioneering work in the 1850s on animal inoculation against the disease.
The bacteria are widespread in Africa, the Middle East, Southern Europe, as well as parts of Asia. It is an airborne species, and can travel up to several kilometres in the right conditions.
Currently, there is no proven, safe treatment for monkeypox. The people who have been infected can be vaccinated up to 14 days after exposure.
The traditional theory is that a cold can be "caught" by prolonged exposure to cold weather such as rain or winter conditions, which is how the disease got its name. Some of the viruses that cause the common colds are seasonal, occurring more frequently during cold or wet weather. The reason for the seasonality has not been conclusively determined. Possible explanations may include cold temperature-induced changes in the respiratory system, decreased immune response, and low humidity causing an increase in viral transmission rates, perhaps due to dry air allowing small viral droplets to disperse farther and stay in the air longer.
The apparent seasonality may also be due to social factors, such as people spending more time indoors, near infected people, and specifically children at school. There is some controversy over the role of low body temperature as a risk factor for the common cold; the majority of the evidence suggests that it may result in greater susceptibility to infection.
For infecting organisms to survive and repeat the infection cycle in other hosts, they (or their progeny) must leave an existing reservoir and cause infection elsewhere. Infection transmission can take place via many potential routes:
- Droplet contact, also known as the "respiratory route", and the resultant infection can be termed airborne disease. If an infected person coughs or sneezes on another person the microorganisms, suspended in warm, moist droplets, may enter the body through the nose, mouth or eye surfaces.
- Fecal-oral transmission, wherein foodstuffs or water become contaminated (by people not washing their hands before preparing food, or untreated sewage being released into a drinking water supply) and the people who eat and drink them become infected. Common fecal-oral transmitted pathogens include "Vibrio cholerae", "Giardia" species, rotaviruses, "Entameba histolytica", "Escherichia coli", and tape worms. Most of these pathogens cause gastroenteritis.
- Sexual transmission, with the resulting disease being called sexually transmitted disease
- Oral transmission, Diseases that are transmitted primarily by oral means may be caught through direct oral contact such as kissing, or by indirect contact such as by sharing a drinking glass or a cigarette.
- Transmission by direct contact, Some diseases that are transmissible by direct contact include athlete's foot, impetigo and warts
- Vehicle Transmission, transmission by an inanimate reservoir (food, water, soil).
- Vertical transmission, directly from the mother to an embryo, fetus or baby during pregnancy or childbirth. It can occur when the mother gets an infection as an intercurrent disease in pregnancy.
- Iatrogenic transmission, due to medical procedures such as injection or transplantation of infected material.
- Vector-borne transmission, transmitted by a vector, which is an organism that does not cause disease itself but that transmits infection by conveying pathogens from one host to another.
The relationship between "virulence versus transmissibility" is complex; if a disease is rapidly fatal, the host may die before the microbe can be passed along to another host.
The common cold virus is typically transmitted via airborne droplets (aerosols), direct contact with infected nasal secretions, or fomites (contaminated objects). Which of these routes is of primary importance has not been determined; however, hand-to-hand and hand-to-surface-to-hand contact seems of more importance than transmission via aerosols. The viruses may survive for prolonged periods in the environment (over 18 hours for rhinoviruses) and can be picked up by people's hands and subsequently carried to their eyes or nose where infection occurs. Transmission is common in daycare and at school due to the proximity of many children with little immunity and frequently poor hygiene. These infections are then brought home to other members of the family. There is no evidence that recirculated air during commercial flight is a method of transmission. People sitting in close proximity appear to be at greater risk of infection.
Rhinovirus-caused colds are most infectious during the first three days of symptoms; they are much less infectious afterwards.
Disease can arise if the host's protective immune mechanisms are compromised and the organism inflicts damage on the host. Microorganisms can cause tissue damage by releasing a variety of toxins or destructive enzymes. For example, Clostridium tetani releases a toxin that paralyzes muscles, and staphylococcus releases toxins that produce shock and sepsis. Not all infectious agents cause disease in all hosts. For example, less than 5% of individuals infected with polio develop disease. On the other hand, some infectious agents are highly virulent. The prion causing mad cow disease and Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease invariably kills all animals and people that are infected.
Persistent infections occur because the body is unable to clear the organism after the initial infection. Persistent infections are characterized by the continual presence of the infectious organism, often as latent infection with occasional recurrent relapses of active infection. There are some viruses that can maintain a persistent infection by infecting different cells of the body. Some viruses once acquired never leave the body. A typical example is the herpes virus, which tends to hide in nerves and become reactivated when specific circumstances arise.
Persistent infections cause millions of deaths globally each year. Chronic infections by parasites account for a high morbidity and mortality in many underdeveloped countries.
Aujeszky's disease, usually called pseudorabies in the United States, is a viral disease in swine that has been endemic in most parts of the world. It is caused by "Suid herpesvirus 1" (SuHV1). Aujeszky's disease is considered to be the most economically important viral disease of swine in areas where hog cholera has been eradicated. Other mammals, such as humans, cattle, sheep, goats, cats, dogs, and raccoons, are also susceptible. The disease is usually fatal in these animal species bar humans.
The term "pseudorabies" is found inappropriate by many people, as SuHV1 is a herpesvirus and not related to the rabies virus.
Research on SuHV1 in pigs has pioneered animal disease control with genetically modified vaccines. SuHV1 is now used in model studies of basic processes during lytic herpesvirus infection, and for unravelling molecular mechanisms of herpesvirus neurotropism.
Pneumonic plague can be caused in two ways: primary, which results from the inhalation of aerosolised plague bacteria, or secondary, when septicaemic plague spreads into lung tissue from the bloodstream. Pneumonic plague is "not" exclusively vector-borne like bubonic plague; instead it can be spread from person to person. There have been cases of pneumonic plague resulting from the dissection or handling of contaminated animal tissue. This is one type of the plague formerly known as the Black Death.
Influenza's effects are much more severe and last longer than those of the common cold. Most people will recover completely in about one to two weeks, but others will develop life-threatening complications (such as pneumonia). Thus, influenza can be deadly, especially for the weak, young and old, or chronically ill. People with a weak immune system, such as people with advanced HIV infection or transplant patients (whose immune systems are medically suppressed to prevent transplant organ rejection), suffer from particularly severe disease. Pregnant women and young children are also at a high risk for complications.
The flu can worsen chronic health problems. People with emphysema, chronic bronchitis or asthma may experience shortness of breath while they have the flu, and influenza may cause worsening of coronary heart disease or congestive heart failure. Smoking is another risk factor associated with more serious disease and increased mortality from influenza.
According to the World Health Organization: "Every winter, tens of millions of people get the flu. Most are only ill and out of work for a week, yet the elderly are at a higher risk of death from the illness. We know the worldwide death toll exceeds a few hundred thousand people a year, but even in developed countries the numbers are uncertain, because medical authorities don't usually verify who actually died of influenza and who died of a flu-like illness." Even healthy people can be affected, and serious problems from influenza can happen at any age. People over 65 years old, pregnant women, very young children and people of any age with chronic medical conditions are more likely to get complications from influenza, such as pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus, and ear infections.
In some cases, an autoimmune response to an influenza infection may contribute to the development of Guillain–Barré syndrome. However, as many other infections can increase the risk of this disease, influenza may only be an important cause during epidemics. This syndrome has been believed to also be a rare side effect of influenza vaccines. One review gives an incidence of about one case per million vaccinations. Getting infected by influenza itself increases both the risk of death (up to 1 in 10,000) and increases the risk of developing GBS to a much higher level than the highest level of suspected vaccine involvement (approx. 10 times higher by recent estimates).
Vaccination against smallpox is assumed to provide protection against human monkeypox infection considering they are closely related viruses and the vaccine protects animals from experimental lethal monkeypox challenge. This has not been conclusively demonstrated in humans because routine smallpox vaccination was discontinued following the apparent eradication of smallpox and due to safety concerns with the vaccine.
Smallpox vaccine has been reported to reduce the risk of monkeypox among previously vaccinated persons in Africa. The decrease in immunity to poxviruses in exposed populations is a factor in the prevalence of monkeypox. It is attributed both to waning cross-protective immunity among those vaccinated before 1980 when mass smallpox vaccinations were discontinued, and to the gradually increasing proportion of unvaccinated individuals. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that persons investigating monkeypox outbreaks and involved in caring for infected individuals or animals should receive a smallpox vaccination to protect against monkeypox. Persons who have had close or intimate contact with individuals or animals confirmed to have monkeypox should also be vaccinated.
CDC does not recommend preexposure vaccination for unexposed veterinarians, veterinary staff, or animal control officers, unless such persons are involved in field investigations.
Although no specific treatment for acute infection with SuHV1 is available, vaccination can alleviate clinical signs in pigs of certain ages. Typically, mass vaccination of all pigs on the farm with a modified live virus vaccine is recommended. Intranasal vaccination of sows and neonatal piglets one to seven days old, followed by intramuscular (IM) vaccination of all other swine on the premises, helps reduce viral shedding and improve survival. The modified live virus replicates at the site of injection and in regional lymph nodes. Vaccine virus is shed in such low levels, mucous transmission to other animals is minimal. In gene-deleted vaccines, the thymidine kinase gene has also been deleted; thus, the virus cannot infect and replicate in neurons. Breeding herds are recommended to be vaccinated quarterly, and finisher pigs should be vaccinated after levels of maternal antibody decrease. Regular vaccination results in excellent control of the disease. Concurrent antibiotic therapy via feed and IM injection is recommended for controlling secondary bacterial pathogens.
A contagious disease is a subset category of transmissible diseases, which are transmitted to other persons, either by physical contact with the person suffering the disease, or by casual contact with their secretions or objects touched by them or airborne route among other routes.
Non-contagious infections, by contrast, usually require a special mode of transmission between persons or hosts. These include need for intermediate vector species (mosquitoes that carry malaria) or by non-casual transfer of bodily fluid (such as transfusions, needle sharing or sexual contact).
The boundary between contagious and non-contagious infectious diseases is not perfectly drawn, as illustrated classically by tuberculosis, which is clearly transmissible from person to person, but was not classically considered a contagious disease. In the present day, most sexually transmitted diseases are considered contagious, but only some of them are subject to medical isolation.
The number of workers in the United States exposed to beryllium vary but has been estimated to be as high as 800,000 during the 1960s and 1970s. A more recent study estimated the number of exposed workers in the United States from in 1996 to be around 134,000.
The rate of workers becoming sensitized to beryllium varies based on genetics and exposure levels. In one study researchers found the prevalence of beryllium sensitization to range from 9 - 19% depending on the industry. Many workers who are found to be sensitive to beryllium also meet the diagnostic criteria for CBD. In one study of nuclear workers, among those who were sensitized to beryllium, 66% were found to have CBD as well. The rate of progression from beryllium sensitization to CBD has been estimated to be approximately 6-8% per year. Stopping exposure to beryllium in those sensitized has not been definitively shown to stop the progression to CBD.
The overall prevalence of CBD among workers exposed to beryllium has ranged from 1 – 5% depending on industry and time period of study.
The general population is unlikely to develop acute or chronic beryllium disease because ambient air levels of beryllium are normally very low (<0.03 ng/m). However, a study found 1% of people living within 3/4 of a mile of a beryllium plant in Lorain, Ohio, had berylliosis after exposure to concentrations estimated to be less than 1 milligram per cubic metre of air. In the United States the Beryllium Case Registry contained 900 records, early cases relating to extraction and fluorescent lamp manufacture, later ones coming from the aerospace, ceramics and metallurgical industries.