Chronic infection is a type of infection that develops gradually and worsens over a while. An infection is the entry of a disease-causing microorganism into the body. A pathogen causes infectious diseases, and these diseases are transmissible.
There are three known types of infections: bacterial infection, viral infection, and fungal infection. There are many other types, but today we will focus on these three.
As the name indicates, bacterial infections are caused by bacteria.
What are bacteria?
Bacteria (single: bacterium) are single-celled microorganisms that are only visible through a microscope. Bacteria are found everywhere on Earth. Even Antarctica has many bacteria that are frozen in the ice. There are even bacteria present in the Air. Not all bacteria are harmful. Many aids in very important functions on Earth.
A bacterial infection is when a harmful bacterial strain gains entry into the body. There are many common infections caused by bacteria, e.g., bacterial diarrhea, food poisoning, and meningitis.
Food Borne Infection
Most of the bacterial infections are food-borne. Bacterial diarrhea is a common enough disease. The symptoms are abdominal pain, vomiting, nausea, dizziness, and diarrhea. The cause of this infection is raw meat, eggs, and unpasteurized milk. Most of the time, bacteria such as C. jejuni, C. botulinum, E. coli, and Salmonella are responsible for food poisoning.
Bacterial Skin Infection
Cellulitis, folliculitis, impetigo, and boils are common bacterial skin infections. Cellulitis is a painful infection that causes pain when touched. Folliculitis is the infection of hair follicles. Impetigo causes oozing sores to form in children. Boils are skin-deep. Sometimes pus accumulates in the skin.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
These infections are the most common and most problematic. These spread through sexual intercourse. Chlamydia, Syphilis, and Gonorrhea are the most common bacterial infections that spread through sexual transmission.
Other bacterial infections are meningitis, otitis, urinary tract infection, and respiratory tract infection. Chronic mycoplasma infections, chronic wound infection, chronic sinus infection in cats are more examples of bacterial infections.
It is easier to control a bacterial infection than a viral infection. Antibiotics are the drug of choice for eradicating many bacterial infections. Erythromycin, quinolones, tetracyclines, and penicillins are some types of antibiotics. It is recommended that you complete the course of antibiotics, or else bacteria can develop resistance to the medicine. Viral infections are not treated by antibiotics but are sometimes prescribed to avoid chronic infections.
Viruses cause viral infections.
What is a Virus?
Viruses are genetic material (RNA or DNA) packed inside the protein coat called a capsid. Viruses are smaller in size than bacteria. Viruses cannot reproduce on their own. They need a host for reproduction purposes. The use cannot treat viral infections of antibiotics. Diseases such as the common cold, influenza, and autoimmune disease syndrome are all caused by viruses.
A viral infection happens when a virus gains entry into the body of the host. The genetic material of a virus overpowers the host system and causes the host to make new viruses. A virus makes thousands of copies of itself and then kills the host cell, thereby causing a viral infection. An incubation period for the virus is the time from the exposure to the virus to the emergence of the symptoms.
Respiratory Viral Infections
Respiratory viral infections are caused by viruses that affect the lungs, nose, and throat. These type of infections occurs when viruses are transmitted through air droplets. The now prevalent covid-19 is also a respiratory viral infection caused by a coronavirus.
Antiviral medication is used for the treatment of viral infections. Most of the time, the infection resolves itself. Also, sometimes medication is given to relieve symptoms, and they do not fight the virus. There are many vaccines available for the prevention of viral infection. Vaccines such as the flu vaccine, hepatitis vaccine, and the new coronavirus vaccine are examples of virus vaccines.
Difference between Bacterial & Viral Infection
Bacteria are larger than viruses in size. The symptoms of bacterial and viral infections are similar. Lab tests and differential diagnoses can find the difference. Another big difference can be observed when treated with antibiotics. Antibiotics eradicate bacterial infections.
Fungal infections are caused by fungus.
What is Fungi?
Fungi are multicellular organisms that cannot make their food. Just like bacteria and viruses, there are harmful and harmless fungi present. Fungal infection occurs when fungus takes over a part of the body. Systemic fungal infections are also common in hospitals. Most fungal infections are skin-based such as athlete’s foot, jock itch, yeast infection, and ringworm. Nail infections and hair fungal infections are also common. Dandruff is also a type of fungal infection.
Red skin and itching are the common symptoms of a fungal infection. Aspergillus that causes aspergillosis is the most serious and life-threatening fungal infection. It affects the lungs of the infected person.
Antifungal medications treat fungal infections. Antifungal medicines are available in cream, ointment, liquid, tablet, and injection form. Clotrimazole, terbinafine, ketoconazole, and fluconazole are some antifungal drugs used to eradicate the fungus from the body.
Bacteria mostly cause chronic infections. It is seen that chronic infections are formed when the bacteria develop resistance against the antibiotics. Non-contagious pathogens do not cause chronic infection. Contagious pathogens are the main culprit where chronic infections are concerned. The symptoms of chronic infection include fever, swollen lymph nodes, fatigue, headache, nausea, and vomiting. Some believe that it is impossible to treat chronic infection because even after treatment, re-infection can occur. Still, with the emergence of technology and more research, the cure is not far away from us.
Chronic infection develops gradually. Because there is no obvious cure for chronic infection, it is prudent that we follow precaution because precaution is better than treatment. You can prevent many diseases by following SOPs. For example, the new covid-19 disease does not have a treatment. We must wear masks, wash hands and keep social distance if we want to eradicate the disease.