Saturday, November 26, 2011

Pea soup stool

The motile bacterium Salmonella typhi, which is known to infect only humans, is spread by ingestion of food, drink or other material contaminated by this organism. Inadequate sanitation and hygiene cause human feces contaminated with this bacterium to end up in food, drink and other material which is then ingested. About 2 weeks after infection with Salmonella typhi, most people suffering from typhoid develop a yellow-green foul liquid stool that resembles pea soup in appearance – pea soup stool.
Good sanitation and hygiene as well as antibiotic treatment for typhoid and vaccination are important measures to curb this multisystem disease.
Brusch JL, Garvey T, Corales R, Schmitt SK. Typhoid Fever Clinical Presentation. Medscape reference. Accessed 26-11-2011. Available

Electron microscope image of Salmonella typhimurium invading human cells

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Bread and butter pericarditis

Inflammation is not a disease but a normal response of tissues to injury. Inflammation aims to remove, dilute, wall off, etc. injurious agents such as viruses, bacteria, toxins, etc. while setting the scene for healing to occur. With no inflammation, wounds would not heal.
The pericardium; peri, ‘around’, cardium ‘heart’ is a bag with two layers that surrounds the heart as well as the big blood vessels leaving and entering the heart. Normally, between the two layers of the pericardium is a little lubricating fluid which allows efficient heart contraction.
The pericardium can become inflamed – pericarditis – itis being the suffix denoting an inflammatory process. During pericarditis, the protein fibrin forms a mesh that acts as a scaffold to trap, remove, wall off, etc. the injurious agent. When the heart is seen after death (autopsy) in a person who had fibrinous pericarditis the fibrin over the pericardium looks like bread and butter – bread and butter pericarditis.
Cohen MB. Cross your heart: Some historical comments about fibrinous pericarditis. Hum Pathol, 2004, 35(2):147-9. Go to reference

Bread and butter pericarditis, heart