Posts tagged illness

So I'm laid up with norovirus right now, and I've had a lot of time to wonder why you throw up and have diarrhea when you're sick. Is that part of the damage the virus does to the body or is it an immune system response or something? — Asked by youcanthandelthetruth

Ew. Well, there are a lot of causes for diarrhea (viral infection, autoimmune attacks, and alcohol being the primary ones in North America), and almost as many for vomiting, but I think I can make a quick post on a few causes…eventually. >_>

At least you don’t have dysentery?

Anyway, yeah, you’re about right, when viruses cause vomiting and/or diarrhea, it’s often due to direct attack to the guts. Norovirus is a gastroenterovirus, meaning it affects the small intestine and stomach.

The thing is, it’s impossible to cultivate noroviruses in the lab, and we don’t *know* if there are enterotoxins coded by the noroviruses (which cause a non-inflammatory but very angry response by the immune system on the intestine), like rotaviruses do. They’re doing something to the intestines, obviously, but the cause for the violent projectile vomiting (as compared to just, like, regular puking in other gastroenteritises) and diarrhea isn’t completely understood.

We just know that yes, it’s a response to an attack on the gut cells - maybe a direct attack, maybe a toxin affecting them, something like that. What’s sort of weird about norovirus is that there are very few infected cells in the intestines, and the Peyer’s patches (kinda like intestine lymph nodes, they release and house immune particles) aren’t activated/affected except in immunocompromised people. Yet the gut is obviously very angry, and people around the world die from dehydration due to these viruses every day.

For anyone into virology or immunology, TWiV did a podcast on Noroviridae back in 2011 and while we know a wee bit more about the animal noroviruses today, our knowledge on human norovirus hasn’t made any huge leaps forward since then.

TWiV 134: Meet Ralph, your cruise director.

Questionable Health Tips Night:
Bread crusts = prophylactic antibiotics/antivirals.
Hints and Remedies for the Treatment of Common Accidents and Diseases and Rules of Simple Hygiene. Dawson W. Turner, 1882.

Questionable Health Tips Night:

Bread crusts = prophylactic antibiotics/antivirals.

Hints and Remedies for the Treatment of Common Accidents and Diseases and Rules of Simple Hygiene. Dawson W. Turner, 1882.

1975! G’lord! That’s the year that the last indigenous case of variola major occured. A girl from Bangladesh named Rahima Banu had that last case in October of 1975. There was a case of variola minor in Somalia in 1977, but 1975 is when the more serious form was eradicated in the wild.

1975! G’lord! That’s the year that the last indigenous case of variola major occured. A girl from Bangladesh named Rahima Banu had that last case in October of 1975. There was a case of variola minor in Somalia in 1977, but 1975 is when the more serious form was eradicated in the wild.

caskette:

Giant ovarian tumor, 1851Dr. Stanley B. Burns

It wasn’t as uncommon as one might think to find grotesquely overgrown ovaries, testicles, and lymph nodes, especially in the lower classes. Being unable to afford to see a doctor until it was clearly too late to do much was not uncommon, and charity hospitals didn’t have many beds. There weren’t emergency rooms back then, which are compelled to provide care. Or, if you live outside the US, there wasn’t the health care you’re able to get just by living.
 Either way, cancers in the lower class were frequently left until the patient was dead or nearly dead, and once they got to medical care (if they ever did), they were curiosities to be marveled at, by simply still being alive. Because of this, many of the very severe cases that eventually made it to medical care after ca. 1850 were well documented, both in terms of being photographed and having the clinical presentations documented.

caskette:

Giant ovarian tumor, 1851
Dr. Stanley B. Burns

It wasn’t as uncommon as one might think to find grotesquely overgrown ovaries, testicles, and lymph nodes, especially in the lower classes. Being unable to afford to see a doctor until it was clearly too late to do much was not uncommon, and charity hospitals didn’t have many beds. There weren’t emergency rooms back then, which are compelled to provide care. Or, if you live outside the US, there wasn’t the health care you’re able to get just by living.

 
Either way, cancers in the lower class were frequently left until the patient was dead or nearly dead, and once they got to medical care (if they ever did), they were curiosities to be marveled at, by simply still being alive. Because of this, many of the very severe cases that eventually made it to medical care after ca. 1850 were well documented, both in terms of being photographed and having the clinical presentations documented.

Medicine man Jes’akkid’, bending over an ill person. This was supposed to let him take the disease out of the body of the afflicted. 1885, Black River Falls, WI.

Medicine man Jes’akkid’, bending over an ill person. This was supposed to let him take the disease out of the body of the afflicted. 1885, Black River Falls, WI.