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)
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Chicken respiratory diseases are difficult to differentiate and may not be diagnosed based on respiratory signs and lesions. Other diseases such as mycoplasmosis by Mycoplasma gallisepticum (chronic respiratory disease), Newcastle disease by mesogenic strains of Newcastle diseases virus (APMV-1), avian metapneumovirus, infectious laryngotracheitis, avian infectious coryza in some stages may clinically resemble IB. Similar kidney lesions may be caused by different etiologies, including other viruses, such as infectious bursal disease virus (the cause of Gumboro disease) and toxins (for instance ochratoxins of Aspergillus ochraceus), and dehydration.
In laying hens, abnormal and reduced egg production are also observed in Egg Drop Syndrome 76 (EDS), caused by an Atadenovirus and avian metapneumovirus infections. At present, IB is more common and far more spread than EDS. The large genetic and phenotypic diversity of IBV have been resulting in common vaccination failures. In addition, new strains of IBV, not present in commercial vaccines, can cause the disease in IB vaccinated flocks. Attenuated vaccines will revert to virulence by consecutive passage in chickens in densely populated areas, and may reassort with field strains, generating potentially important variants.
Definitive diagnosis relies on viral isolation and characterization. For virus characterization, recent methodology using genomic amplification (PCR) and sequencing of products, will enable very precise description of strains, according to the oligonucleotide primers designed and target gene. Methods for IBV antigens detection may employ labelled antibodies, such as direct immunofluorescence or immunoperoxidase. Antibodies to IBV may be detected by indirect immunofluorescent antibody test, ELISA and Haemagglutination inhibition (haemagglutinating IBV produced after enzymatic treatment by phospholipase C).
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.
No specific treatment is available, but antibiotics can be used to prevent secondary infections.
Vaccines are available (ATCvet codes: for the inactivated vaccine, for the live vaccine; plus various combinations).
Biosecurity protocols including adequate isolation, disinfection are important in controlling the spread of the disease.
Antibiotics are given to treat any bacterial infection present. Cough suppressants are used if the cough is not productive. NSAIDs are often given to reduce fever and upper respiratory inflammation. Prevention is by vaccinating for canine adenovirus, distemper, parainfluenza, and "Bordetella". In kennels, the best prevention is to keep all the cages disinfected. In some cases, such as "doggie daycares" or nontraditional playcare-type boarding environments, it is usually not a cleaning or disinfecting issue, but rather an airborne issue, as the dogs are in contact with each other's saliva and breath. Although most kennels require proof of vaccination, the vaccination is not a fail-safe preventative. Just like human influenza, even after receiving the vaccination, a dog can still contract mutated strains or less severe cases.
The above signs, especially fever, respiratory signs, neurological signs, and thickened footpads occurring in unvaccinated dogs strongly indicate canine distemper. However, several febrile diseases match many of the signs of the disease and only recently has distinguishing between canine hepatitis, herpes virus, parainfluenza and leptospirosis been possible. Thus, finding the virus by various methods in the dog's conjunctival cells or foot pads gives a definitive diagnosis. In older dogs that develop distemper encephalomyelitis, diagnosis may be more difficult, since many of these dogs have an adequate vaccination history.
An additional test to confirm distemper is a brush border slide of the bladder transitional epithelium of the inside lining from the bladder, stained with Dif-Quick. These infected cells have inclusions which stain a carmine red color, found in the paranuclear cytoplasm readability. About 90% of the bladder cells will be positive for inclusions in the early stages of distemper.
A number of vaccines against canine distemper exist for dogs (ATCvet code: and combinations) and domestic ferrets (), which in many jurisdictions are mandatory for pets. Infected animals should be quarantined from other dogs for several months owing to the length of time the animal may shed the virus. The virus is destroyed in the environment by routine cleaning with disinfectants, detergents, or drying. It does not survive in the environment for more than a few hours at room temperature (20–25 °C), but can survive for a few weeks in shady environments at temperatures slightly above freezing. It, along with other labile viruses, can also persist longer in serum and tissue debris.
Despite extensive vaccination in many regions, it remains a major disease of dogs.
To prevent canine distemper, puppies should begin vaccination at six to eight weeks of age and then continue getting the “booster shot” every two to four weeks until they are 16 weeks of age. Without the full series of shots, the vaccination will not provide protection against the virus. Since puppies are typically sold at the age of eight to ten weeks, they typically receive the first shot while still with their breeder, but the new owner often does not finish the series. These dogs are not protected against the virus and so are susceptible to canine distemper infection, continuing the downward spiral that leads to outbreaks throughout the country.
In June 2009, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) approved the first canine influenza vaccine. This vaccine must be given twice initially with a two-week break, then annually thereafter.
The presence of an upper respiratory tract infection in a dog that has been vaccinated for the other major causes of kennel cough increases suspicion of infection with canine influenza, especially in areas where the disease has been documented. A serum sample from a dog suspected of having canine influenza can be submitted to a laboratory that performs PCR tests for this virus.
Cat flu is the common name for a feline upper respiratory tract disease. While feline upper respiratory disease can be caused by several different pathogens, there are few symptoms that they have in common.
While Avian Flu can also infect cats, Cat flu is generally a misnomer, since it usually does not refer to an infection by an influenza virus. Instead, it is a syndrome, a term referring to the fact that patients display a number of symptoms that can be caused by one or more of the following infectious agents (pathogens):
1. Feline herpes virus causing feline viral rhinotracheitis (cat common cold, this is the disease that is closely similar to cat flu)
2. Feline calicivirus—(cat respiratory disease)
3. "Bordetella bronchiseptica"—(cat kennel cough)
4. "Chlamydophila felis"—(chlamydia)
In South Africa the term cat flu is also used to refer to Canine Parvo Virus. This is misleading, as transmission of the Canine Parvo Virus rarely involves cats.
Biochemical tests used in the identification of infectious agents include the detection of metabolic or enzymatic products characteristic of a particular infectious agent. Since bacteria ferment carbohydrates in patterns characteristic of their genus and species, the detection of fermentation products is commonly used in bacterial identification. Acids, alcohols and gases are usually detected in these tests when bacteria are grown in selective liquid or solid media.
The isolation of enzymes from infected tissue can also provide the basis of a biochemical diagnosis of an infectious disease. For example, humans can make neither RNA replicases nor reverse transcriptase, and the presence of these enzymes are characteristic of specific types of viral infections. The ability of the viral protein hemagglutinin to bind red blood cells together into a detectable matrix may also be characterized as a biochemical test for viral infection, although strictly speaking hemagglutinin is not an "enzyme" and has no metabolic function.
Serological methods are highly sensitive, specific and often extremely rapid tests used to identify microorganisms. These tests are based upon the ability of an antibody to bind specifically to an antigen. The antigen, usually a protein or carbohydrate made by an infectious agent, is bound by the antibody. This binding then sets off a chain of events that can be visibly obvious in various ways, dependent upon the test. For example, "Strep throat" is often diagnosed within minutes, and is based on the appearance of antigens made by the causative agent, "S. pyogenes", that is retrieved from a patients throat with a cotton swab. Serological tests, if available, are usually the preferred route of identification, however the tests are costly to develop and the reagents used in the test often require refrigeration. Some serological methods are extremely costly, although when commonly used, such as with the "strep test", they can be inexpensive.
Complex serological techniques have been developed into what are known as Immunoassays. Immunoassays can use the basic antibody – antigen binding as the basis to produce an electro-magnetic or particle radiation signal, which can be detected by some form of instrumentation. Signal of unknowns can be compared to that of standards allowing quantitation of the target antigen. To aid in the diagnosis of infectious diseases, immunoassays can detect or measure antigens from either infectious agents or proteins generated by an infected organism in response to a foreign agent. For example, immunoassay A may detect the presence of a surface protein from a virus particle. Immunoassay B on the other hand may detect or measure antibodies produced by an organism's immune system that are made to neutralize and allow the destruction of the virus.
Instrumentation can be used to read extremely small signals created by secondary reactions linked to the antibody – antigen binding. Instrumentation can control sampling, reagent use, reaction times, signal detection, calculation of results, and data management to yield a cost effective automated process for diagnosis of infectious disease.
Doxycycline and minocycline are the medications of choice. For people allergic to antibiotics of the tetracycline class, rifampin is an alternative. Early clinical experience suggested that chloramphenicol may also be effective, however, in vitro susceptibility testing revealed resistance.
On infection the microorganism can be found in blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) for the first 7 to 10 days (invoking serologically identifiable reactions) and then moving to the kidneys. After 7 to 10 days the microorganism can be found in fresh urine. Hence, early diagnostic efforts include testing a serum or blood sample serologically with a panel of different strains.
Kidney function tests (blood urea nitrogen and creatinine) as well as blood tests for liver functions are performed. The latter reveal a moderate elevation of transaminases. Brief elevations of aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), and gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT) levels are relatively mild. These levels may be normal, even in children with jaundice.
Diagnosis of leptospirosis is confirmed with tests such as enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The MAT (microscopic agglutination test), a serological test, is considered the gold standard in diagnosing leptospirosis. As a large panel of different leptospira must be subcultured frequently, which is both laborious and expensive, it is underused, especially in developing countries.
Differential diagnosis list for leptospirosis is very large due to diverse symptoms. For forms with middle to high severity, the list includes dengue fever and other hemorrhagic fevers, hepatitis of various causes, viral meningitis, malaria, and typhoid fever. Light forms should be distinguished from influenza and other related viral diseases. Specific tests are a must for proper diagnosis of leptospirosis.
Under circumstances of limited access (e.g., developing countries) to specific diagnostic means, close attention must be paid to the medical history of the patient. Factors such as certain dwelling areas, seasonality, contact with stagnant contaminated water (bathing, swimming, working on flooded meadows, etc.) or rodents in the medical history support the leptospirosis hypothesis and serve as indications for specific tests (if available).
"Leptospira" can be cultured in Ellinghausen-McCullough-Johnson-Harris medium (EMJH), which is incubated at 28 to 30 °C. The median time to positivity is three weeks with a maximum of three months. This makes culture techniques useless for diagnostic purposes but is commonly used in research.
Technologies based upon the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method will become nearly ubiquitous gold standards of diagnostics of the near future, for several reasons. First, the catalog of infectious agents has grown to the point that virtually all of the significant infectious agents of the human population have been identified. Second, an infectious agent must grow within the human body to cause disease; essentially it must amplify its own nucleic acids in order to cause a disease. This amplification of nucleic acid in infected tissue offers an opportunity to detect the infectious agent by using PCR. Third, the essential tools for directing PCR, primers, are derived from the genomes of infectious agents, and with time those genomes will be known, if they are not already.
Thus, the technological ability to detect any infectious agent rapidly and specifically are currently available. The only remaining blockades to the use of PCR as a standard tool of diagnosis are in its cost and application, neither of which is insurmountable. The diagnosis of a few diseases will not benefit from the development of PCR methods, such as some of the clostridial diseases (tetanus and botulism). These diseases are fundamentally biological poisonings by relatively small numbers of infectious bacteria that produce extremely potent neurotoxins. A significant proliferation of the infectious agent does not occur, this limits the ability of PCR to detect the presence of any bacteria.
No human vaccine is available for ehrlichiosis. Tick control is the main preventive measure against the disease. However, in late 2012 a breakthrough in the prevention of CME (canine monocytic ehrlichiosis) was announced when a vaccine was accidentally discovered by Prof. Shimon Harrus, Dean of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Koret School of Veterinary Medicine.
In Haiti, few cases of human rabies are reported to health authorities. In 2016, a report of a woman who had been exposed to rabies three months prior and was showing symptoms went to the hospital where no treatment was administered to her. Even after being reported to both the CDC and the national Department of Epidemiology and Laboratory Research (DELR), as required by Haiti's surveillance program, the woman ended up passing away. This goes to show the lack of communication and effectiveness in caring for human subjects in Haiti, and the continued focus is on eliminating dog-mediated rabies altogether.
Human diploid cell culture rabies vaccine (HDCV) and purified chick embryo cell culture rabies vaccine (PCEC) are used to treat post-exposure immunization against a human rabies infection. Recommendations for treatment are given by governmental health care organizations and in health literature. Health care providers are encouraged to administer a regimen of four 1-mL doses of HDCV or PCEC vaccines. According to the CDC, these injections should be administered intramuscularly to persons who have not yet been vaccinated for rabies.
For those who are unvaccinated, the first of four doses is administered immediately after exposure to the rabies virus. Additional doses are given three, seven, and fourteen days after the first vaccination. Exposure usually means a bite from a rabid animal.
At an individual patient level, post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) consists of local treatment of the wound, vaccination, and administration of immunoglobulin, if necessary . At the program level, several components are critical, including: adequate and prompt recognition of the need for PEP by the public, if exposed, and by health officials, prompt and sufficient availability of high-quality PEP, and adequate follow-up of PEP use. Health officials' awareness of the need for PEP after a dog bite can only be achieved if the exposure is attended to immediately and communicated effectively.
Doxycycline has been provided once a week as a prophylaxis to minimize infections during outbreaks in endemic regions. However, there is no evidence that chemoprophylaxis is effective in containing outbreaks of leptospirosis, and use of antibiotics increases antibiotics resistance. Pre-exposure prophylaxis may be beneficial for individuals traveling to high-risk areas for a short stay.
Effective rat control and avoidance of urine contaminated water sources are essential preventive measures. Human vaccines are available only in a few countries, such as Cuba and China. Animal vaccines only cover a few strains of the bacteria. Dog vaccines are effective for at least one year.
Owners often notice their cat coughing several times per day. Cat coughing sounds different from human coughing, usually sounding more like the cat is passing a hairball. Veterinarians will classify the severity of feline asthma based on the medical signs. There are a number of diseases that are very closely related to feline asthma which must be ruled out before asthma can be diagnosed. Lungworms, heartworms, upper and lower respiratory infections, lung cancer, cardiomyopathy and lymphocytic plasmacytic stomatitis all mimic asthmatic symptoms. Medical signs, pulmonary radiographs, and a positive response to steroids help confirm the diagnosis.
While radiographs can be helpful for diagnosis, airway sampling through transtracheal wash or bronchoalveolar lavage is often necessary. More recently, computed tomography has been found to be more readily available and accurate in distinguishing feline tracheobronchitis from bronchopneumonia.
The heterophile antibody test works by agglutination of red blood cells from guinea pig, sheep and horse. This test is specific but not particularly sensitive (with a false-negative rate of as high as 25% in the first week, 5–10% in the second, and 5% in the third). About 90% of patients have heterophile antibodies by week 3, disappearing in under a year. The antibodies involved in the test do not interact with the Epstein–Barr virus or any of its antigens.
The monospot test is not recommended for general use by the CDC due to its poor accuracy.
About 10% of people who present a clinical picture of infectious mononucleosis do not have an acute Epstein–Barr-virus infection. A differential diagnosis of acute infectious mononucleosis needs to take into consideration acute cytomegalovirus infection and "Toxoplasma gondii" infections. Because their management is much the same, it is not always helpful, or possible, to distinguish between Epstein–Barr-virus mononucleosis and cytomegalovirus infection. However, in pregnant women, differentiation of mononucleosis from toxoplasmosis is important, since it is associated with significant consequences for the fetus.
Acute HIV infection can mimic signs similar to those of infectious mononucleosis, and tests should be performed for pregnant women for the same reason as toxoplasmosis.
People with infectious mononucleosis are sometimes misdiagnosed with a streptococcal pharyngitis (because of the symptoms of fever, pharyngitis and adenopathy) and are given antibiotics such as ampicillin or amoxicillin as treatment.
Other conditions from which to distinguish infectious mononucleosis include leukemia, tonsillitis, diphtheria, common cold and influenza (flu).
Diagnosis is achieved most commonly by serologic testing of the blood for the presence of antibodies against the ehrlichia organism. Many veterinarians routinely test for the disease, especially in enzootic areas. During the acute phase of infection, the test can be falsely negative because the body will not have had time to make antibodies to the infection. As such, the test should be repeated. A PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test can be performed during this stage to detect genetic material of the bacteria. The PCR test is more likely to yield a negative result during the subclinical and chronic disease phases. In addition, blood tests may show abnormalities in the numbers of red blood cells, white blood cells, and most commonly platelets, if the disease is present. Uncommonly, a diagnosis can be made by looking under a microscope at a blood smear for the presence of the "ehrlichia" morulae, which sometimes can be seen as intracytoplasmic inclusion bodies within a white blood cell.
The prognosis is good for dogs with acute ehrlichiosis. For dogs that have reached the chronic stage of the disease, the prognosis is guarded. When bone marrow suppression occurs and there are low levels of blood cells, the animal may not respond to treatment.
There is no specific treatment for infectious mononucleosis, other than treating the symptoms. In severe cases, steroids such as corticosteroids may be used to control the swelling of the throat and tonsils. Currently, there are no antiviral drugs or vaccines available.
It is important to note that symptoms related to infectious mononucleosis caused by EBV infection seldom last for more than 4 months. When such an illness lasts more than 6 months, it is frequently called chronic EBV infection. However, valid laboratory evidence for continued active EBV infection is seldom found in these patients. The illness should be investigated further to determine if it meets the criteria for chronic fatigue syndrome, or CFS. This process includes ruling out other causes of chronic illness or fatigue.
Feline asthma and other respiratory diseases may be prevented by cat owners by eliminating as many allergens as possible. Allergens that can be found in a cat’s habitual environment include: pollen, molds, dust from cat litter, perfumes, room fresheners, carpet deodorizers, hairspray, aerosol cleaners, cigarette smoke, and some foods. Avoid using cat litters that create lots of dust, scented cat litters or litter additives. Of course eliminating all of these can be very difficult and unnecessary, especially since a cat is only affected by one or two. It can be very challenging to find the allergen that is creating asthmatic symptoms in a particular cat and requires a lot of work on both the owner’s and the veterinarian's part. But just like any disease, the severity of an asthma attack can be propelled by more than just the allergens, common factors include: obesity, stress, parasites and pre-existing heart conditions. Dry air encourages asthma attacks so keep a good humidifier going especially during winter months.
Globally, 59,000 people die from rabies each year. This is the equivalent of one person dying every nine minutes, with half of the people who die from rabies being under the age of 15. The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the Pan American Center of foot-and-mouth disease (PANAFTOSA) led a mission to eliminate dog-mediated rabies in the American region by 2015. These organizations are cognizant of the regional control of rabies. The PAHO and PANAFTOSA visited Haiti in early December, 2013, and the objectives of the mission were to assess the status of Haiti’s rabies program as delivered by the Haitian Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development (MARNDR) and the Ministry of Health (MSPP). The mission was to seek opportunities for collaboration between Haiti, Brazil, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Haiti.
Even in 2017, rabies in Haiti is still identified as a national problem, even with PEP proposed.
A list of the more common and well-known diseases associated with infectious pathogens is provided and is not intended to be a complete listing.