DefinitionPericarditis is a condition in which the sac-like covering around the heart (pericardium) becomes inflamed.CausesThe cause of pericarditis is unknown or unproven in many cases. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Virus - an infectious PATHOGEN that must invade a host cell to replicate, technically called an obligate intracellular PARASITE. ANTIBIOTIC MEDICATIONS are not effective in treating illnesses that result from viral infections, such as COLDS and INFLUENZA. After invading a host cell, a virus hijacks the cell’s structures and functions to serve its own needs and to replicate itself. Viruses are highly adaptable and have numerous mechanisms to hide from the IMMUNE SYSTEM, allowing them to become well established infections before the immune system detects their presence. An infection is an invasion and multiplying of pathogenic microbes in the body tissues in which they are not usually present (1).
A colonization is the usual presence of non-pathogenic and even potentially pathogenic microbes on the skin, in the nose, mouth, bowel, penile or vaginal mucosa, as a part of normal human flora, in the amount not harmful for the body – this is not an infection.
A contamination is the presence of germs which do not multiply, for example, in a contaminated (not infected)wound.
A carrier state is the non-usual presence of pathogenic microbes in the body, in the way not harmful for the carrier, but potentially dangerous for others, since the carrier is usually contagious. An overgrowth of microbes, non-pathogenic in small amount, but pathogenic in large amount, for example, an overgrowth of Clostridium difficile bacteria in the colon can cause life threatening pseudomembranous colitis. Re-activation of an infection may occur; for example, a Varicella zoster virus, which has remained dormant in the roots of the spinal nerves after successfully healed chicken pox, may be re-activated during stress or certain disease, and can cause shingles. Bacteremia, viremia, fungemia and parasitemia (the presence of microbes in the blood) may result in an infection of other organs, or sepsis.
Systemic infection, like influenza, affects the whole body and causes systemic symptoms, like general malaise, muscle pains, fever, nausea, etc. Localized infection, like cellulitis, is limited to one or few body parts and presents with localized symptoms, like redness, swelling, pain or localized (nasal, ear, etc.) discharge.
Chronic infection, like tuberculosis or AIDS, may last from several weeks to several years. Recurrent infection is one that frequently affects a person, like folliculitis in those who share the same sport equipment, or fungal infections  in those with lowered immunity. Invasion of multi-cellular parasites, like intestinal worms or head lice, into the body is called infestation. Viral infections are often systemic and may cause fever, headache, runny nose, sore throat, muscle and joint pains, diarrhea, skin rash, etc. Fungal (yeast) infections in a person with a healthy immune system usually affect only the skin.
In a person with a weak immune system, fungal infections, commonly caused by a yeast Candida albicans, may appear in the mouth (oral thrush), esophagus, rectum or vagina; systemic candidiasis is severe and commonly fatal infection.
Parasitic infections cause different symptoms, depending on the type of parasite and organ affected. Infestation (Latin infestare = to attack, disturb) is an invasion of multi-cellular parasites, like intestinal worms (helminths) or head lice to the body.
In medical terms, the incubation period is the time from when a person is exposed to an infectious agent (pathogenic microorganism) till the onset of signs and symptoms.
Fever in localized skin infections or food poisoning may be absent, in tuberculosis or viral pneumonia it is usually low-grade, in influenza moderate, and in bacterial pneumonia or sepsis high.
Pain in childhood viral infections and flu is usually general and vague, and in localized bacterial infections, like bacterial prostatitis, localized and intense. Discharge from the nose, eyes, ears, trachea, bronchi and lungs (phlegm, sputum), nipples, bowel (mucus in the stool), urethra, vagina and wounds may appear in all types of infections. An incubation period is the time elapsed between exposure to pathogenic microbes and symptoms appearance.


An autoinfection – the spread of an infection from one body part to another, usually by hands or clothes (folliculitis, impetigo). By drinking contaminated water, one can contract stomach flu, cholera, dysentery, typhoid fever, amebiasis, etc. By swimming in contaminated swimming or spa pools, or lakes, one can contract hot tub folliculitis, intestinal parasite Cryptosporidium, eye and middle ear infections. Industrial cooling or hot water systems, air condition and room-air humidifiers can be a source of Legionella. During walking barefoot, Clostridium tetani, sandworms, or intestinal parasites, like Strongyloides stercoralis or hookworms can be contacted. Infections acquired in hospitals can be dangerous, since causing microbes are often resistant to regular antibiotics, and patients infected are often already seriously ill.
Legionella may be sometimes found in the tap water in newly opened or poorly maintained hospitals. A fomite is an inanimate object or substance capable of transmitting infectious agents (microorganisms) from one object to another. Ask a Doctor Online Now!Microbes may make harm by releasing toxins, for example, in food poisoning, a parasite Entameba hystolytica can release toxins, which can destroy colonic mucosa, resulting in bleeding ulcers and diarrhea. Invasion of microbes triggers immune response of the body and attracts inflammatory cells, like leukocytes, and substances, like cytokines, which attack the microbes. Effective anti-microbial medications for most infections, except viral ones, are available. Ask a Doctor Online Now!Please note that any information or feedback on this website is not intended to replace a consultation with a health care professional and will not constitute a medical diagnosis.
Amir, the base of infection is an invasion of microorganism into your body what results in inflammation.
A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. A virus is a particle of living material that contains an inner core of nucleic acid (DNA or RNA), called the genome, encased in an outer shell of protein, called a capsid. Once the immune system does detect a virus, it develops antibodies that protect against subsequent infection by the same virus. For example, if you have Staphylococcus aureus bacteria (a common cause of skin infections) in your nose, you may infect others, even if you alone never develop an infection.
Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth due to invasion of otherwise non-harmful colonic bacteria into the small intestine can cause bloating and diarrhea.
Example: infection with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), which can cause infectious mononucleosis, often triggers no symptoms in small children.
Examples of bacterial infections: staphylococcal skin infections, pseudomonas folliculitis, streptococcal pharyngitis, osteomyelitis, pneumococcal pneumonia, bacterial meningitis, etc.
Patchy areas with a brownish or reddish scaly rash on the scalp (scalp ringworm), trunk, limbs or groin (jock itch), peeled skin on the hands or feet (athlete’s foot), or discolored or cracked nails are typical symptoms of a skin fungal infection.
Intestinal parasites cause bloating, diarrhea, mucus in the stool and eventual weight loss. Not every person who comes into contact with an infectious agent will become infected but once the infection is acquired, the micoorganism will take a period of time during which it multiplies and spreads within the body until the point that signs and symptoms become evident. There is no single specific symptom but a combination of symptoms and signs that speak for an infection. In everyday speech, only infections transmitted directly from person to person (like flu) are considered as contagious.
Once contaminated, fomites may carry microbes for few minutes or several weeks, depending on the type of the microbe and certain circumstances, like air humidity and temperature. Such a defense reaction regularly results in an inflammation of infected tissue, which can be observed, for example, as purulent discharge in common cold or swollen joint in bacterial arthritis. For example, Streptococcus pneumoniae , causing pneumonia, can trigger fluid collection in the lungs, impeding oxygen exchange between the air and the blood and thus reducing the oxygen supply to the tissues, what may result in death.


When in doubt, a doctor can take a sample of blood, urine, stool, sputum, nasal or other discharge and send it to laboratory, where microbes can be determined by serologic tests or a culture. A doctor can often make a diagnosis from symptoms and physical examination, but in doubtfull or severe cases, lab tests has to be done to determine the causing microbe.
Some viruses contain a third layer composed of lipids, called an envelope, that further protects and nourishes the virus. Many common viruses-such as those that are responsible for COLDS (rhinoviruses), GASTROENTERITIS (enteroviruses), and the flu (INFLUENZA viruses)- frequently alter their structures, evolving into different strains that can cause the same illnesses. Contamination also refers to presence of pathogenic microbes on medical equipment, in the water, food etc. Examples of viral infections: influenza, childhood diseases like chicken pox, rubella, rubeolla and infectious mononucleosis, AIDS, viral hepatitis, viral hemorrhagic fever, etc. Effective over the counter or prescribed anti-fungal ointments and oral medications are available.
Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. These components, collectively called a virion, cannot themselves support a full life cycle, which obligates the virus to find a host to maintain its survival.
Some viruses, such as human T-lymphotropic virus (HTLV) and HUMAN PAPILLOMAVIRUS (HPV), cause cancer (oncoviruses). A virus can attach only to the type of cell capable of supporting it, binding to specific protein molecules on the surface of the cell membrane. The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a retrovirus that attacks the immune system, causing AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).
Except of acyclovir and related antiviral drugs, at present, there is not a lot of effective medicines for viral diseases available. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
RNA viruses achieve a similar result by causing the host cell to replicate their RNA, which then replaces the cell’s RNA. Surgical removal of parasitic cysts, like in Echinococcus, from the liver, bones, brain or lungs is sometimes required. Retroviruses are RNA viruses that contain the enzyme reverse transcriptase, which allows RNA to instruct DNA (the reverse of normal).
These medicines will decrease your pain and reduce the swelling or inflammation in the sac around your heart.If pericarditis does not go away after 1 to 2 weeks, or it comes back weeks or months later, a medicine called colchicine may be added. This procedure, called pericardiocentesis, may be done using an echocardiography-guided needle.Cutting a small hole (window) in the pericardium (subxiphoid pericardiotomy) to allow the infected fluid to drain into the abdominal cavity Surgery called pericardiectomy may be needed if the pericarditis is long-lasting, comes back after treatment, or causes scarring or tightening of the tissue around the heart. Outlook (Prognosis)Pericarditis can range from mild illness that gets better on its own, to a life-threatening condition. Fluid buildup around the heart and poor heart function can complicate the disorder.The outcome is good if pericarditis is treated right away. This is called recurrent, or chronic, if symptoms or episodes continue.Scarring and thickening of the sac-like covering and the heart muscle may occur when the problem is severe.
It can cause long-term problems similar to those of heart failure.When to Contact a Medical ProfessionalCall your health care provider if you have symptoms of pericarditis.
Chen, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington Medical School, Seattle, Washington.



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