Case Study 2
Respiratory Tract Infections, Neoplasms, and Childhood Disorders
Patricia was called at work by a woman at the local daycare center. She told Patricia to come and pick up her son because he was not feeling well. Her son, three-and-a-half-year-old Marshall, had been feeling tired and achy when he woke up. While at daycare, his cheeks had become red and he was warm to touch. He did not want to play with his friends, and by the time Patricia arrived, he was crying. Later that afternoon, Marshall’s condition worsened. He had fever, chills, a sore throat, runny nose, and a dry hacking cough. Suspecting Marshall had influenza, Patricia wrapped him up and took him to the community health care clinic.
- Why did Marshall’s presentation lead Patricia to think he had influenza and not a cold? Why is it important to medically evaluate and diagnose a potential influenza infection?
- Describe the pathophysiology of the influenza virus. Outline the properties of influenza A antigens that allow them to exert their effects in the host.
- Marshall may be at risk at contracting secondary bacterial pneumonia. Why is this so? Explain why cyanosis may be a feature associated with pneumonia.
- Make sure all of the topics in the case study have been addressed.
- Cite at least three sources; journal articles, textbooks or evidenced-based websites to support the content.
- All sources must be within 5 years.
- Do not use .com, Wikipedia, or up-to-date, etc., for your sources.
Ensure you have written at least four double-spaced pages.
Expert Solution Preview
This case study involves a three-and-a-half-year-old boy named Marshall who displayed symptoms of influenza. In this assignment, we will discuss why Patricia suspected influenza and not a cold, the pathophysiology of the influenza virus, and the risk of secondary bacterial pneumonia in Marshall. Additionally, we will explain why cyanosis may be present in pneumonia and the importance of medical evaluation and diagnosis of influenza.
1. Why did Marshall’s presentation lead Patricia to think he had influenza and not a cold? Why is it important to medically evaluate and diagnose a potential influenza infection?
Marshall presented with symptoms such as fever, chills, sore throat, runny nose, and a dry hacking cough, which are similar to cold symptoms. However, Patricia suspected influenza because the symptoms developed rapidly in the child, and he displayed additional symptoms like fatigue, warm cheeks, and not wanting to play.
It is essential to medically evaluate and diagnose a potential influenza infection because the flu can lead to complications like pneumonia, bronchitis, and sinus and ear infections, especially in people with weakened immune systems or preexisting conditions. Accurate diagnosis and early intervention can prevent complications and reduce the severity of the illness.
2. Describe the pathophysiology of the influenza virus. Outline the properties of influenza A antigens that allow them to exert their effects in the host.
The influenza virus is composed of two glycoproteins on its surface, hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA). There are three types of influenza viruses: A, B, and C. Influenza A is the most pathogenic and undergoes frequent antigenic change, which categorizes it as an infectious agent capable of causing pandemics.
The HA protein mediates virus attachment and entry into host cells. HA subtypes (H1-18) can infect humans; H5-, H7-, and H9-subtypes mainly infect birds. NA helps new virions break away from infected cells by cleaving sialic acid on infected cell surfaces.
Influenza A antigens have properties that allow them to exert their effects in the host. These antigens stimulate the production of neutralizing antibodies that block virus attachment to host cells, ultimately preventing infection. HA also galvanizes CD8 T-lymphocyte responses that destroy virus-infected cells. The main cause of influenza’s high mutation rate is antigenic drift, leading to strain-specific immunity.
3. Marshall may be at risk of contracting secondary bacterial pneumonia. Why is this so? Explain why cyanosis may be a feature associated with pneumonia.
Influenza virus predisposes patients to secondary bacterial infections such as Streptococcus pneumoniae, Staphylococcus aureus, and Haemophilus influenzae. These bacteria take advantage of the weakened immune system and inflamed airways caused by influenza, leading to pneumonia.
Cyanosis, the bluish discoloration of the skin and mucous membranes caused by low oxygen saturation, may be present in pneumonia. Cyanosis occurs due to the accumulation of bacteria, fluid, and cellular debris in the alveoli of the lungs, thereby obstructing oxygen exchange with capillaries. The lack of oxygen in the blood flowing to the skin and mucous membranes causes the color changes seen in cyanosis.
The rapid onset of symptoms, coupled with additional symptoms like fatigue, helped Patricia suspect that Marshall had the flu. The influenza virus has properties that allow it to bind and enter host cells. Additionally, it predisposes patients to secondary bacterial infections like pneumonia. Cyanosis is a feature of pneumonia caused by the accumulation of bacteria, fluid, and cellular debris in the lungs. Overall, early medical evaluation and accurate diagnosis of influenza can prevent complications and reduce the severity of the illness.