Featuring content from MediResource Inc.
Tick bites can present a temporarily annoying experience in the summertime. However, the additional possibility of catching Lyme disease is one more reason to take action against these bugs. Lyme disease is caused by a spiral-shaped bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi, which is spread by the bite of ticks of the genus Ixodes, commonly known as deer ticks or black-legged ticks.
These ticks are tiny – about the size of a pinhead when immature – and grow only slightly bigger as adults. They crawl onto a person's skin from grasses and shrubs in wooded areas. The tick digs its mouth into the skin and feeds for 2 or 3 days before dropping off.
Although not necessarily confined to these specific areas, most cases of Lyme disease are reported in the northeastern US (from Massachusetts to Maryland), the north-central states (especially Wisconsin and Minnesota), and the west coast (particularly northern California). The disease is on the rise in the US, with approximately 20,000 cases every year, and also appears in Canada. From 1999 to the end of 2004, a total of 172 human cases of Lyme disease were reported in Ontario. Approximately 20 to 60 new cases of Lyme disease are reported every year in Canada.
A characteristic sign of Lyme disease is a skin rash that starts with a small red patch that gradually expands, often clearing in the centre to form a "bull's-eye" pattern. The person may develop "flu-like" symptoms including fatigue, headache, chills, fever, muscle and joint pain, and swollen lymph nodes. Less commonly, tingling or numbness in the hands and feet or facial paralysis has also been reported.
To avoid tick bites when hiking or camping in wooded areas:
If you spend several days outdoors in areas that might contain ticks, inspect yourself daily once you're indoors. Check your skin carefully for ticks, and ask someone to check your scalp for ticks. If a tick has already latched on to you, don't panic. Even if the tick has bitten you, remember that not all ticks carry Lyme disease.
The best way to remove a tick is with a tick-removing device or a pair of fine-point tweezers. Grasp it where its mouthparts enter the skin or, if that is not easily visible, grab it by its head (as close to your skin as possible) with the suggested removal tools. Pull the tick straight out firmly and steadily. Do not twist, squash, or crush the tick when you are removing it. Be patient, as proper tick removal takes time. If you notice that the tick's mouthparts still remain in your skin, don't worry; the bacteria that cause Lyme disease reside in the tick's gut or salivary glands.
Do not squeeze the tick's body, do not apply petroleum jelly or alcohol, and do not use a hot match, nail polish, or other products while the tick remains attached. These actions could transmit the Lyme-disease-causing bacteria to you.
Once you remove the tick, place it in a container (e.g., a small jar with a lid) with alcohol to kill and preserve it so you can take it to your doctor to check if it carried Lyme disease. Cleanse the affected area of your skin with an antiseptic (e.g., alcohol) or mild soap and water. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. You should also have the tick bite examined by your doctor, especially if you develop a rash or flu-like symptoms.
For people who require treatment for a mild infection associated with Lyme disease, their doctor will usually prescribe an oral (by mouth) antibiotic for 14 to 21 days. These types of antibiotics include doxycycline, amoxicillin, or cefuroxime. The specific antibiotic used will depend on a person's medical history and medication allergies.
For people who require treatment for more severe infections associated with Lyme disease, their doctor will usually prescribe an intravenous (given through the vein) antibiotic (e.g., ceftriaxone, cefotaxime, penicillin) for 2 to 4 weeks. On occasion, treatment with an oral antibiotic may be prescribed following treatment with an intravenous antibiotic.
If the tick is identified and removed within 72 hours of the bite, and assuming that no skin rash has appeared, your doctor may consider prescribing a single oral dose of doxycycline. This treatment can help prevent the rash from developing.
If you have Lyme disease, your doctor will determine the most appropriate treatment for you.
Overall, when you are travelling abroad, especially to developing and tropical countries, it is a good idea to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about how to protect yourself from diseases. Aside from watching what you eat and drink and protecting yourself from tick bites, you also have to watch for many other diseases, such as malaria, hepatitis, influenza, and yellow fever. Many of these diseases can be prevented with immunizations, so speak to your doctor or visit a travel clinic to see if you are at risk and what immunizations you and your family would benefit from.
All material © 1996-2014 MediResource Inc. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
The higher you go above sea level, the less oxygen there is to breathe. When you reach elevations above 2,000 metres (6,500 feet), your body doesn't always adjust quickly enough to the decrease in oxygen. This can lead to altitude sickness, which is actually a group of potentially life-threatening ailments. Acute mountain sickness (AMS) is the most common type. Other forms of altitude sickness attack the lungs and brain.
Asbestosis is a harmful lung condition that develops in people who have inhaled asbestos dust. When someone inhales the dust, the microscopic asbestos fibres settle in the lungs, where they may cause permanent lung damage as well as chronic breathing symptoms.
Athlete's foot, known as dermatophytosis of the foot or tinea pedis ("foot fungus"), is a common skin infection that affects the feet. You don't have to be an "athlete" to get it.
Most people know that botulism is dangerous, but many are confused about whether it's an infection or a case of poisoning. In fact, it can be both. Clostridium botulinum is a worldwide bacterium that inhabits rivers, soil, and the guts of mammals, fish, and shellfish. It's not an organism that normally makes its living by attacking humans. We most often encounter C. botulinum by accident.
Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), commonly known as "mad cow disease," is a fatal disease that strikes the nervous system of cattle. Currently, no vaccine or treatment exists to treat BSE, and affected animals display a variety of neurological symptoms before they die (think of television reports showing cows having trouble standing up).
Burns are injuries primarily to the skin and underlying tissue. The skin is the largest organ in the body and it regulates the body's temperature. It also prevents the evaporation of bodily fluids and acts as a barrier against infection.
Candidiasis, also called thrush or moniliasis, is a yeast infection. Candida albicans is an organism that normally makes a quiet home for itself on your skin and doesn't bother anyone. We all carry this organism on our skin, in our mouth, in our gastrointestinal tract (gut), and, in the case of women, in the vagina.
Chickenpox is a very common illness caused by the varicella-zoster virus. It's extremely contagious. The rash that it produces is usually harmless and goes away on its own. While you can get chickenpox at any age, 90% of cases occur before the age of 14. Anyone who's had the disease once is immune for life, although they can still get shingles, a painful skin rash caused when the varicella-zoster virus becomes active again, even many years after you've had chickenpox.
Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted disease (STD) in North America, affecting both men and women, although women report the disease approximately three times more often than men. The infection is named after the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. Most women that are infected with the bacteria have no symptoms and therefore don't know they have chlamydia. It's easily treated, but can sometimes lead to serious complications if it isn't caught early enough. For example, it is estimated that 20 to 25% of untreated women will develop pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can be a very painful illness. Risk for abnormal pregnancies or infertility also increases with untreated chlamydia infection.
Cholera is a bacterial infection of the small bowel that can cause severe diarrhea and dehydration.
Cold sores, also known as fever blisters, are caused by a virus. They usually appear around the mouth and on the lips. They are highly contagious but not dangerous.
Emphysema is a chronic lung condition in which the lungs' natural airspaces, called alveoli, become larger but decrease in number. The tissue surrounding the alveoli loses elasticity so that the airspaces can no longer expand and shrink as usual. This reduces the amount of oxygen transferred by the lungs to the bloodstream, making it more difficult for you to breathe.
Many of the viruses, bacteria, parasites, and fungi that can invade the human body are also capable of attacking the surface or interior of the eye. Infectious eye diseases can be categorized in two ways.
Food poisoning is a very common illness. For most people it is usually mild, but food poisoning can be severe and even deadly for some individuals. Most cases of food poisoning occur when people eat food or drink water containing bacteria, bacterial toxins (substances produced by bacteria), parasites, or viruses, Food poisoning can also occur when non-infectious poisons (such as poisonous mushrooms) or heavy metals (such as lead or mercury) find their way into people's stomachs.
Gastroenteritis literally means inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. Viral gastroenteritis is also called "stomach flu." It is extremely common, especially in children, and is highly contagious. Bacterial gastroenteritis is also known as "food poisoning" and is caused by food that has been prepared or stored improperly.
Gonorrhea is the second most common sexually transmitted infection in North America. Only chlamydia infects more people. Gonorrhea is caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae. The infection can affect mucous linings in the vagina, cervix, penis, rectum, throat, and eyes.
Heat stroke is also known as sunstroke, thermic fever, or siriasis. It happens when the body's mechanisms for controlling temperature fail. Heat stroke is a life-threatening emergency needing immediate treatment. While many people feel sick and faint during heat waves, most of these people are suffering from heat exhaustion, a related condition usually less serious than heat stroke.
Hepatitis is the medical term for inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis may be acute (lasting only for the short term, after which a person recovers) or chronic (lasting for the long term, usually more than 6 months).
Infectious mononucleosis (called "mono" for short) is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), a virus that affects nearly everybody at some point. The disease is sometimes known as glandular fever, because it causes lymph glands to swell up. It's also called the "kissing disease" because kissing is a common method of transmission.
The flu is a respiratory (i.e., nose, throat, and lung) infection that can be caused by a variety of influenza viruses. Many people use the word "flu" when they actually have a cold. Although the common cold is also caused by viruses, the flu and common cold differ in several ways.
Laryngitis occurs when the part of the throat called the larynx becomes inflamed. When this happens, it causes a severe hoarseness that can make your voice "croak" or have to whisper when you talk. It can even lead to temporary loss of your voice.
Legionnaire's disease, or legionellosis, is a lung infection caused by bacteria of the species Legionella. This organism was first discovered in 1976, when 221 delegates at an American Legion conference in Philadelphia fell mysteriously ill. Of the 221 delegates, 34 died. After the possibility of food poisoning had been ruled out, it became apparent that they had inhaled a bacterium that was later named after these first known victims.
Malaria is a parasitic infection spread by Anopheles mosquitoes. The Plasmodium parasite that causes malaria is neither a virus nor a bacterium - it is a single-celled parasite that multiplies in red blood cells of humans as well as in the mosquito intestine.
Meningitis means "inflammation of the meninges." The meninges (plural of meninx) are membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. They can become inflamed when an infection occurs in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) surrounding these membranes. Other things such as medications, tumours, and chemical exposure can also cause meningitis.
Mumps is a viral infection of the salivary glands, especially the parotid glands that run along the angle of the jaw in front of and below each ear. Children between the ages of 5 and 10 are most likely to contract mumps. Being infected once gives you lifelong immunity.
Fibrosis refers to scar tissue that has replaced healthy tissue. This is what happens in the lungs of people with pulmonary fibrosis. Inflammation (swelling) in the lungs usually happens before or at the same time as the formation of scar tissues.
Scabies is caused by a mite (a tiny insect-like organism) that's hardly visible without a microscope. The mite is disc-shaped, pearly-white in colour, with 4 pairs of brown legs, and reaches an adult size that is less then 0.5 mm.
Sinusitis is inflammation of the sinuses. It may be associated with both bacterial and viral infections, but it may be due to non-infectious inflammation (e.g., allergies) in the sinuses as well. Sinusitis can be acute and last less than 4 weeks, or chronic and last 8 to 12 weeks or more. Acute sinusitis is very common, affecting about 1 in 10 people each year.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are a group of infections similar to one another only in that they can be acquired through sexual contact. STIs is a term now used in place of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Strep throat is the most common of bacterial infections, accounting for about 15% of all sore throats that get diagnosed in the doctor's office. It's most common in children, but many adults get strep throat, too.
Tetanus is a condition caused by a nerve toxin that is produced by the bacterium Clostridium tetani, a cousin of the bacteria that cause gangrene and botulism. It remains a serious worldwide public health problem, killing over 500,000 people each year.
Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is caused by toxins released by certain strains of common bacteria. Although anyone can experience TSS, it occurs most often in healthy adults. The wound through which the bacteria gain entry is often minor or unnoticeable. Toxic shock syndrome has become linked with the use of tampons. TSS develops quickly and may be fatal. Still, this disease is fairly rare.
Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii. This single-celled parasite is capable of living in a wide range of birds and mammals, but only produces eggs in the lining of the intestines of cats. In humans it usually causes no symptoms. On average, 20% to 40% of the population in North America is infected - the infection rate is even higher in other parts of the world.
Vertigo is a condition in which you feel off-balance and dizzy, as if you or your surroundings are moving, spinning, or swaying. It can lead to nausea and disability. Vertigo is most common in elderly people, but it can affect both sexes at any age. It may be a temporary or permanent condition.
Warts are small growths on the skin caused by a virus known as human papillomavirus (HPV). Warts are extremely common: it is estimated that about 25% of the population have a wart at any one time. Luckily, most warts are harmless. However, since they're caused by a virus, warts are very contagious.
Asthma is a chronic lung condition. Inflammation, increased mucus, and muscle tightening cause the airways to narrow, and as a result, air can't move through the lungs as well as it should, which makes it difficult to breathe.
Bronchiectasis isn't one single disease. Rather, it is a condition that results from injury to the bronchi and bronchial tubes. These are the networks of airways in the upper chest that deliver air into the lungs after it passes down the throat through the windpipe.
Children are born with a natural immunity to certain infections. Antibodies pass through the mother's placenta to the fetus before birth, protecting the baby from infection. Breast-fed babies continue to receive antibodies from their mothers' breast milk. However, this natural immunity eventually wears off, usually within the first year of life.
Conjunctivitis, also known as "pink eye," is a common eye condition. It's an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the membrane that covers the white of the eye and the inside of the eyelids. Within this membrane, there are tiny blood vessels that get enlarged when the conjunctiva become irritated. The enlarged blood vessels make the eye look red.
Many people have spent a tropical vacation with a bad stomach bug. They might have had dysentery, a painful intestinal infection that is usually caused by bacteria or parasites. Dysentery is defined as diarrhea in which there is blood, pus, and mucous, usually accompanied by abdominal pain.
Eczema is a group of skin conditions that cause inflammation of the skin. Eczema is not caused by an infection. The condition may be temporary or chronic, mild or, in rare instances, very serious.
Gangrene is the destruction of tissue in your body. It develops when the blood supply to an affected body part is cut off because of various factors such as infection, vascular disease, or trauma. Gangrene can involve any body part, but the most commonly affected areas are the extremities (feet, arms, legs, hands).
Tinea cruris, commonly referred to as jock itch, is a fungal infection in the groin area. It affects mostly adult men. It's caused by a type of fungus called dermatophytes. It grows in a circle on your skin and often looks like a ring. Due to irritation, the skin becomes red.
Lice are tiny parasitic insects that can take up residence in a number of different places on our body. They are not a serious medical problem, but they can be annoying and can easily spread and infect others. Lice have been around for centuries. They were widespread in Europe up until the last century, and anthropologists report signs of these annoying intruders among Egyptian mummies and during the period of the ancient Greeks.
Lyme disease is an illness caused by a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi, which is transmitted by the bite of an infected tick. The bacterium is usually carried by birds, mice, squirrels, and other small animals. Ticks become infected by the bacterium when they feed on infected animals. The bacterium can be passed to humans when they get bitten by an infected tick. Under normal circumstances, Lyme disease cannot be passed from human to human. Pets (cats and dogs) can get Lyme disease as well, but they don't appear to pass it onto humans. However, they can bring infected ticks into the home.
Measles (also called rubeola or morbilli) was once one of the most common childhood infections in North America. In the early 1960s, over half a million children were infected every year. In 1963, the creation of a measles vaccine changed everything. Today, while very few new cases of measles occur each year in developed countries, it still occurs in epidemic proportions in developing areas. Even though a majority of patients recover from infection, measles can have serious complications. Early in infection, the brain tissue can become inflamed (encephalitis). A later complication can occur several years later, causing brain damage.
Some people feel very sick while travelling in an airplane, boat, train, or car. They may feel queasy or nauseous or may vomit, and they may have a headache. This condition is called motion sickness.
The pinworm, or Enterobius vermicularis, is a small parasitic worm that can live inside the human lower intestine. Only 3 mm to 10 mm long, it causes an intense itching in the area of an infected person's anus, especially at night.
Pneumonia is an inflammation of the lungs that is usually caused by infection. Pneumonia can also be caused by inhaling irritants such as vomit, liquids, or chemicals. With pneumonia, the air sacs in the lungs fill with liquid or pus, which interferes with the lungs' ability to transfer oxygen to the blood.
Syphilis is primarily a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by Treponema pallidum bacteria. The disease has many clinical appearances that are often grouped into stages, depending on when they occur.
Tonsillitis is an infection of the tonsils that causes inflammation. It's most common in children aged 3 to 7, who have larger tonsils than adults and older children. The tonsils are made of lymphatic tissue. Their job is to produce antibodies that fight infection. Ironically, such tissue is quite prone to becoming infected itself. Tonsillitis can be caused by viral or bacterial infections.
Immunizations are among the most important and effective ways to prevent travel-related infections.
Although it's considered a vaccine-preventable disease, whooping cough (pertussis) certainly hasn't been eliminated as a public health problem. The incidence of whooping cough has decreased by more than 90% over the last 50 years, but there are still outbreaks. While most other diseases that are vaccinated against in childhood are decreasing in frequency, cases of whooping cough have actually increased since 1990.
Chronic bronchitis and emphysema are together called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. This is a chronic condition where not enough air enters or leaves the lungs. In chronic bronchitis, the airways (or bronchi) that connect the windpipe and the lungs become inflamed and swollen. The airways become narrow and are clogged up with thick mucus, called phlegm. Chronic bronchitis may be found together with emphysema, in which destructive changes of the air sacs in the lungs cause them to become larger, reducing the surface area where oxygen exchange takes place. Both diseases make it difficult to breathe. It's a very common condition, especially among people who smoke. It is estimated that 9% of men and 4% of women over the age of 65 have bronchitis or emphysema. Approximately 100,000 Canadians have COPD. In the United States, about 14 million are affected with this condition.
Allergic rhinitis, also called hay fever or pollinosis, literally means "allergic nose inflammation," where rhino means "to do with the nose" and the ending -itis simply refers to inflammation.
Bronchitis is an inflammation of the airways between the windpipe and the lungs (bronchial tubes). The lining of these tubes produces large amounts of mucus, triggering a lingering cough. About 1 in 20 people in North America suffers from chronic bronchitis. Women are more at risk than men.
Shingles are caused by varicella-zoster, the same virus that causes chickenpox. If you've ever had chickenpox (typically during childhood), this virus is quietly hiding out in the roots of your nerves. It can reactivate and cause a painful skin rash. This is known as shingles or herpes zoster.
Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the most common infections in the world. About 2 billion people are infected with TB and nearly 3 million people are killed by it each year. In Canada, there are about 1,600 new cases of TB every year.
Typhoid, also known as typhoid fever or enteric fever, is an infection caused by the bacteria Salmonella typhi.
A cold - also called infectious rhinitis - is a viral infection of the nose and throat. Doctors call it a "self-limiting" condition, which means that it only lasts so long and goes away on its own.
Genital herpes is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs; these are also known by the older term sexually transmitted diseases or STDs) in North America and Europe, and the percentage of the population with this condition is growing around the world.
Rubella, also known as German measles or "three-day measles," is a contagious viral infection that brings on a rash as well as other symptoms. But many children have such mild symptoms that they're unaware of being infected. It's milder than measles and doesn't last as long.
Hypothermia occurs when you have abnormally low body temperature. Normal body temperature is around 37°C (98.6°F), as measured by mouth. Hypothermia is defined as a drop in body temperature below 35°C (95°F). Young babies (because they have a greater surface area to body weight ratio) and seniors are the most vulnerable to developing hypothermia.
Kaposi's sarcoma is a cancer that causes purple, brown, or bluish-red tumours that look like sores on the skin. It may also affect the internal organs and the mucous membranes lining the mouth, nose, and anus.
Anthrax is an infection that is caused by the bacteria Bacillus anthracis. These bacteria form spores that are hard-shelled, dormant versions of the bacteria. Spores are the form of the bacteria that cause infection. They can survive in the soil for many years.
Chronic bronchitis belongs to a larger family of medical conditions known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The term COPD is given to any condition that causes difficulty in breathing as a result of constant blocking of the airways.
Smallpox was an infection that was caused by the virus called variola virus. For thousands of years, smallpox created severe illness and caused the death of hundreds of thousands of people. When it was introduced into the Americas from Europe in the 1500s, it killed many of the native populations. As late as the 1800s it was still causing the deaths of thousands when introduced into susceptible populations, such as in Hawaii, by European explorers. Fortunately, this virus was eliminated as a natural cause of disease in 1977 through effective use of vaccination programs. It is the only disease ever to be deliberately removed from the human population.
Your skin is your body's largest organ and plays a big role in keeping you healthy. It helps to regulate your body temperature and acts as a barrier to keep body fluids in and bacteria out. The skin also acts as a first-alert system to the world around you by warning of potential problems when you feel heat or pain.
West Nile virus is an illness that spreads from mosquitoes to humans. A mosquito becomes infected when it feeds on the blood of a bird that is carrying West Nile virus. About 2 weeks later, the mosquito is capable of spreading the virus to people and animals while biting for a blood meal. The virus is not spread from person to person, and cannot be spread directly from infected animals, such as birds, horses or pets, to people.
Hepatitis is the medical term for inflammation of the liver. The hepatitis C virus is one of the many causes of inflammation of the liver. Liver inflammation can also be caused by other types of hepatitis viruses, as well as by alcohol, medications, and some other less common problems.
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is a very rare, fatal disease that attacks the nervous system. There are two types of CJD: classical CJD and variant CJD.
Most spiders don't bite humans and only do so if they're provoked. When spiders bite, the vast majority of bites only cause a mild reaction in people, such as minor swelling, inflammation, or itching.
Avian influenza, more commonly called "bird flu," is a type of influenza or "flu" that occurs in all species of birds. The virus that causes avian influenza exists naturally in many wild birds, including wild waterfowl, without causing the condition in them (these birds are called carriers). The virus is usually associated with birds raised on poultry farms.
Rabies is a viral disease that is spread most often from the bite of a rabid animal to another animal or to a human.
Fifth disease, also called erythema infectiosum, is a viral infection caused by human parvovirus B19. It occurs most commonly in children with up to 70% of all cases occurring in children 5 to 15 years old.
Giardiasis is an intestinal infection caused by a microscopic, single-celled parasite known as Giardia lamblia. A parasite is an organism that lives on or inside another organism called the host. Typically found in lakes, streams, or ponds that have been contaminated by human, muskrat, dog, or beaver feces, giardiasis is also known as "beaver fever."
Hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) is a viral infection that usually affects babies and children. HFMD can lead to fever, a blistering rash on the hands and feet, mouth sores, sore throat, and a poor appetite.
Oral thrush is a yeast infection of the mouth caused by uncontrolled growth of an organism called Candida albicans.
Also known as poliomyelitis, polio is a highly infectious viral disease. Although most of the world's countries are free from polio, this condition still exists in parts of Africa and south Asia. In particular, it is found in areas where water treatment and sanitation facilities are not properly maintained or nonexistent.
Most infants are exposed to the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) by their second birthday. RSV can cause a serious lung infection in infants and younger children and is more common in premature babies and infants or younger children with health problems, such as heart or lung disease.
Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency. Though rare, this serious type of allergic reaction occurs after a person is exposed to an allergen (a substance they are allergic to), such as certain foods, medications, or insect stings.
Just as our skin is a barrier that protects our inner organs from the outside world, the lungs are protected by a special lining called the pleura. This lining includes the tissue inside the chest wall and tissue that surrounds the lungs. It protects the lungs from the chest wall and allows them to easily slide against each other.
There are two major causes of fungal infections of the skin and nails: yeast and dermatophytes.
If your child has a harsh and barking cough (which sounds a bit like a seal), hoarseness, runny nose, and a mild fever, he or she may have a condition called croup.
The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a virus that causes skin and mucous membrane (the moist lining of body cavities such as the mouth and nose that connect with the outside of the body) infections. It is passed from one person to another by skin-to-skin contact, including sexual contact.
Listeriosis is a foodborne illness. It most commonly affects newborns, people with weakened immune systems, seniors, and pregnant women. Pregnant women are at particular risk of having listeriosis, as they are 20 times more likely to acquire the disease than other healthy adults.
H1N1 influenza is a contagious respiratory disease that causes symptoms similar to those of the seasonal influenza in people. The name swine flu was initially used to describe this type of influenza because laboratory tests showed that this strain of flu virus was made up of genes that were very similar to the ones that caused influenza among pigs (swine). Just like humans, pigs can get the flu. However, we now know that the H1N1 flu virus is made up of genes from several different flu viruses that normally circulate among pigs, birds, and humans.