Infectious Diseases Articles

AmpathChat #77 COVID-19 Antibody Tests - An Update

Several developments have occurred since the authorisation and introduction of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) antibody tests in South Africa in August 2020.

AmpathChat #76 Antigen Testing

Diagnostic testing plays a critical role in the strategy to prevent COVID-19. While nucleic acid amplification tests such as the reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) remain the gold standard reference method to detect SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19)

AmpathChat #59 Diagnosing Pulmonary TB

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) Global Tuberculosis Report of 2018, an estimated 10 million new cases of tuberculosis (TB) were reported in 2017.

AmpathChat #58 Influenza

Influenza is an infectious respiratory disease caused by the influenza virus. It can range from a mild infection to a severe life-threatening disease.

AmpathChat #54 - Helicobacter pylori: an update

Helicobacter pylori is a highly prevalent curved gram-negative bacterium. Seropositivity rates in South-Africa range between 60% and 100%. It causes more than 90% of duodenal ulcers and up to 80% of gastric ulcers. Atrophic gastritis due to H. pylori can lead to gastric cancer.

AmpathChat #50 - Bordetella pertussis

Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly infectious disease of the respiratory tract. Bordetella pertussis is classically regarded as the sole agent of pertussis. However, infection with other Bordetella species, such as B. parapertussis and B. holmesii, can cause a similar, though typically milder, clinical picture.

AmpathChat #47 - CRP vs PCT

Clinicians are faced with a growing population of immuno- compromised patients who are at risk of systemic infections. The diagnosis of bacterial septicaemia is unfortunately not straightforward. Positive blood cultures remain the gold standard.

AmpathChat #40 - The Utility of Urinary Lipoarabinomannan Antigen - LAM- in HIV Infected Patients with Suspected TB

The urine lipoarabinomannan test (U-lam) has been marketed as an adjunct diagnostic modality in HIV-infected patients with severe immunosuppression. The test detects a cell wall component of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacterium that is excreted in urine. The lateral flow test format of the test (DetermineTM TB-LAM Ag test) is rapid and can be performed directly on urine.

AmpathChat #36 - Zika Virus Declared A Public Health Emergency of International Concern

The Zika virus belongs to the family of viruses, Flaviviridae. The term “flavi”, translated from Latin, means “yellow”, as the disease most commonly associated with this group of viruses is yellow fever, which can cause jaundice in infected individuals. Flaviviridae mostly circulate among ticks and mosquitoes, which can then transmit the viruses to humans.

AmpathChat #35 - Update on the Management of Carbapenemase Producing Enterobacteriaceae(CPE)

Dr Tom Frieden, Director of the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, has called carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) “nightmare bacteria”. CRE emerged in South Africa in 2011 when the first cases of Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase (KPC) and New Delhi metallo-β-lactamase (NDM) were described.

AmpathChat #32 - Diagnosing Acute Bacterial Meningitis - The Value of Multiplex PCR

Acute meningitis is generally defined as having compatible symptoms for less than seven days’ duration and can be caused by a variety of bacterial, viral and fungal pathogens. Acute bacterial meningitis is a medical emergency that requires early administration of antibiotics and hospital referral for investigation and further therapy. The most common bacterial causes of acute meningitis, according to the patient’s age

AmpathChat #30 - Post Exposure Prophylaxis After Occupational Exposure to HIV HBV and HCV

It is important that healthcare workers (HCWs) know the steps to follow when an accidental exposure to infectious bodily fluids occurs. Viruses that can be transmitted after occupational exposure to potentially infectious bodily fluids include HIV.

AmpathChat #26 - Antimicrobial Stewardship (AMS) In the Outpatient Setting

The majority of antibiotic prescriptions for systemic use are prescribed in the outpatient setting,1 with acute respiratory tract infections (ARTIs) being the most common indication, followed by urinary tract infections (UTIs).2 In fact, general practitioners (GPs) prescribe approximately 80% of all antibiotics,

AmpathChat #20 Adult HIV Diagnosis

The standard approach to the laboratory diagnosis of HIV infection in children older than 18 months and adults is to test for HIV infection by serological means, whereby the presence of HIV-specific antibodies in a patient’s blood specimen is determined by a screening enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).

AmpathChat #20 - Diagnosing Bacterial and Viral Gastroenteritis - The Role of Molecular Testing

Infectious causes of gastroenteritis account for approximately 1.4 billion cases of diarrhoea globally and in excess of two million deaths every year. These infections can be caused by various bacteria, viruses and parasites.

AmpathChat #16 - Cervical Cancer Screening - Role of HPV DNA Based Screening and Cytology

Genital infection with human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection today, and persistent infection with high-risk genotypes is the cause of cervical cancer. Over 40 HPV genotypes infect mucosal surfaces, including the anogenital epithelium (e.g. cervix, vagina, vulva, rectum, urethra, penis and anus).

AmpathChat #13 - Current Update on the Ebola Virus Outbreak

Guinea is currently experiencing an outbreak of Ebola, which – as of 1 April – includes a suspected 127 cases to date, with 83 recorded deaths (case fatality rate of 65%). The areas of Guinea involved in the outbreak are Guékédou, Macenta, Kissidougou and Nzérékoré.

AmpathChat #11 - Diagnosing Schistosomiasis an Update

Schistosomiasis, or bilharzia, is a common intravascular infection caused by the Schistosoma trematode worm. Bilharzia is endemic in sub-Saharan Africa where the majority of infections are caused by S. haematobium and S. mansoni. Important transmission sites in Africa are Lake Malawi and Lake Victoria and travellers are commonly infected when swimming there. In South Africa