Okay so it’s a bit weird “celebrating” a nasty viral infection, but the emphasis of World Hepatitis Day is to draw people’s attention to hepatitis and as you’ll see in the case of Hepatitis C, there’s actually a lot to celebrate, so please read on…
The patient was a young woman with the most severe headache she had ever had. She was normally fit and well. Her headache was so bad that she kept a towel over her eyes because the light made it worse. She was noted to have a fever and so a provisional diagnosis of meningitis was made.
Whilst taking her history the doctor discovered that she had returned from the USA at the weekend where she had been visiting family. In particular she had been staying in New York. The doctor consulted “Dr Google” and found mention of a cause of meningitis called West Nile Virus. They called the duty Microbiologist to ask for additional tests on the CSF sent earlier to the lab.
“Stone the Crows” thought the Microbiologist after he got over the slight irritation from the lack of initial travel history documented on the request card. He had to admit though that he was pleased that the doctor had taken the trouble to look into this patient’s story in more detail and then do something with the new knowledge they had acquired.
“Happy birthday to us, happy birthday to us, happy birthday dear Bug Blog, happy birthday to ussss…”
The Bug Blog is 5 years old! You may not realise it but we have been doing this together for 5 years. In that time we have written over 190 blogs on various microbiology related subjects as diverse as Proteus mirabilis (which Penny thinks smells like chocolate!), necrotising fasciitis and even Poldark’s Putrid Throat. It can be quite a challenge to find the time to write a blog every week but we strive to keep it up (on average we have managed about 40 per year). What makes it worthwhile is all of you out there taking the trouble to read what we have to say. So thank you for staying with us and reading all of our microbiological rambles…
The phone rang for the thirteenth time that morning.
“Could I ask you for some advice about a patient who came in last night please?” asked the very polite haematology junior doctor.
“Go one then” muttered the less polite Microbiologist wondering when he was going to finish looking at the hundreds of emails he had accrued whilst on holiday last week.
“We have a sixty year old lady who came in with febrile neutropaenia last night following her chemotherapy two weeks ago for leukaemia. There was no obvious cause of the fever so she was started on Piptazobactam but she has worsened overnight. She has now started to complain of abdominal pain and we want to make sure we are covering gastroenteritis.”
The Microbiologist pricked up his ears, not only was this a nice potted summary of the problem but the abdominal pain was ringing alarm bells.
“Where’s the pain?” he asked followed rapidly by “how long has she been neutropaenic?”
“Erm…” stalled the junior doctor “worse on the right side and she has been neutropaenic for about two weeks.”
“Okay, this might be typhlitis, this needs immediate action as it’s actually an emergency and after telling your own Consultant here’s what I want you to do….”
Crikey thought the junior doctor, I only wanted to know what antibiotic to give for gastroenteritis…