Caused by Viruses

Several childhood diseases are characterized by distinctive skin rashes, exanthems, caused by viruses carried to the skin by the blood from sites of infection in the upper respiratory tract. This group of diseases is usually diagnosed by inspection of the rash and other clinical findings. When the disease is not typical, however, tests can be performed to identify specific antibody against the virus, and the virus can often be cultivated from skin lesions, upper respiratory secretions, or other material. Viruses, like obligate intracellular bacteria, can only reproduce in living cells, most conveniently in cultures of cells originally derived from human or other tissues and maintained in the laboratory.

Chickenpox (Varicella)

Chickenpox is the common name for varicella, the most common of the viral rashes of childhood. The causative virus is a member of the herpesvirus family and, like others in that group, produces a latent infection that can reactivate long after recovery from the initial illness. ■ latent infections, p. 463

Table 22.8 Lyme Disease

© Bite of tick infected with Borrelia burgdorferi introduces the bacteria into the skin.

(2 B. burgdorferi reproduce and spread radially in the skin, causing an expanding red rash which tends to clear centrally.

@ The bacteria enter the bloodstream, cause fever, acute injury to the heart and nervous system.

@ Chronic symptoms develop, such as arthritis and paralysis due to persisting bacteria and the immune response to them.

© No person-to-person transmission.

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