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Infectious Disease Report

June 29, 1989|Clipboard researched by Susan Davis Greene, Dallas Jackson and Rick VanderKnyff / Los Angeles Times; Graphics by Doris Shields / Los Angeles Times

Each week the Orange County Health Care Agency reports to the state the incidence of various infectious diseases in the county. The following table details a selection of these afflictions for May, the most recent month for which information is available:

NUMBER OF CASES May Current Previous Disease 1989 Year to Date Year to Date Acquired immune 28 154 131 deficiency syndrome (AIDS) Campylobacter 14 71 127 Lapse of consciousness 136 648 771 (non-alcohol related) Giardiasis 47 183 133 Gonococcal infection 112 874 1,263 Hepatitis A 70 225 148 Hepatitis B 58 251 166 Lead poisoning 10 81 238 Measles (rubeola) 102 223 58 Meningitis 17 63 76 Salmonellosis 19 83 140 Shigellosis 34 112 91 Streptococcal infection 358 1,674 1,549 Syphilis 36 282 653 Tuberculosis 33 127 79

Year to Date % Disease Change, '88-'89 Acquired immune +18 deficiency syndrome (AIDS) Campylobacter -44 Lapse of consciousness -16 (non-alcohol related) Giardiasis +38 Gonococcal infection -31 Hepatitis A +52 Hepatitis B +51 Lead poisoning -66 Measles (rubeola) +284 Meningitis -17 Salmonellosis -41 Shigellosis +23 Streptococcal infection +8 Syphilis -57 Tuberculosis +61

Acquired immune deficiency syndrome: Fatal disease that attacks the body's immune system. Is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus. Transmitted by sexual contact, exposure to contaminated blood and from an infected mother to her newborn.

Campylobacter: Characterized by sudden, acute diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever and vomiting. Associated with foods poorly refrigerated or improperly cooked, unpasteurized milk and unchlorinated water.

Giardiasis: A protozoan infection principally of the upper small intestine. May be associated with a variety of intestinal symptoms such as chronic diarrhea, abdominal cramps and bloating, fatigue and weight loss. Contracted by ingesting contaminated food or water.

Gonococcal infections: Sexually transmitted bacterial diseases that differ in males and females in terms of course, severity and recognition.

Hepatitis A: An acute viral illness affecting the liver. Occurs mostly in children and young adults. Usually transmitted by oral ingestion of infected material or by poor sanitation.

Hepatitis B: An acute illness of the liver transmitted by exposure to contaminated needles, by administration of blood or blood products and/or oral ingestion of contaminated material.

Lead poisoning: Intoxication from absorption of lead or its salts into the body. Often occurs in young children who nibble on materials containing paint with a lead base. Common signs are abdominal pain, constipation, drowsiness, pallor, mental confusion and a blue line on gums.

Measles: A highly infectious viral disease tending to appear in epidemics. Mainly affects children.

Meningitis: Inflammation of the three membranes enveloping the brain and spinal chord.

Salmonellosis: A bacterial disease characterized by the sudden onset of a headache, abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, dehydration and fever. Contracted by eating contaminated food.

Shigellosis: Acute diarrhea acquired by person-to-person contact, through eating contaminated food or by handling contaminated objects.

Streptococcal infection: Often manifested as strep throat or scarlet fever. A sphere-shaped bacteria that grows like chains of little balls.

Syphilis: A chronic venereal disease caused by a spirochete and transmitted by sexual intercourse. The first symptom, a chancre, appears after an incubation period of 12 to 30 days and is followed by a slight fever.

Tuberculosis: A mycobacterial disease that usually affects the lungs. General symptoms include sweats, hectic fever and severe weight loss.


Sources: Orange County Health Care Agency, "Reported Cases of Specified Notifiable Diseases," for November, 1988. "Control of Communicable Diseases In Man," an official report of the American Public Health Assn., Abram S. Benenson, editor, 1985, 4th edition. "Better Homes and Gardens Family Medical Guide," Donald G. Cooley, editor, 1973, 2nd edition. "The Bantam Medical Dictionary," prepared by Laurence Urdang Associates Ltd., 1982. "Stedman's Medical Dictionary," Williams and Wilkins Co., 1973, 22nd edition.

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