A respiratory pathogen is a virus, bacteria, parasite or other agent that has gotten into a patient’s lung, throat, nose or other part of the respiratory system. The Care Group offers tests to find and eliminate these pathogens from the patient’s respiratory tract if they are causing illness. Some pathogens are:
The adenovirus is a family of viruses responsible for a variety of illnesses and maladies. They include the common cold, gastroenteritis, bronchitis, pink eye, fever, bladder infections, diarrhea, and fever. The virus can even cause illness in the central nervous system. Despite this, adenovirus infections are rarely fatal or even serious unless the person is very young, has a compromised immune system or is already in poor health.
Most coronaviruses do not cause serious illness. However, the ones that cause Middle East respiratory syndrome or MERS and severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS have led to fatalities. We can find several strains of the coronavirus, including HKU1, NL63, 229E and OC43.
There are four kinds of parainfluenza viruses, or HPIVs. They can infect both the upper and lower respiratory tract. Most HPIV infections are mild. It is another virus that causes the common cold, and most people get over an infection without treatment. However, HPIV can be dangerous to people who are vulnerable. Other diseases caused by HPIVs include:
- Croup – This is a frightening disease that affects children. It causes the vocal cords to swell and may affect the trachea. Croup makes it difficult for the child to breathe. HPIV-1 and HPIV-2 cause croup.
- Pneumonia – This is an infection of the lungs that causes fluid to accumulate in the air sacs and make breathing difficult.
- Bronchiolitis – This is an inflammation and swelling in the tiny airways in the lungs.
Doctors diagnose an infection caused by respiratory pathogens through polymerase chain reaction, serology, virus isolation or antigen detection. Pathogens can be collected through nose or throat swabs, blood tests or examining fecal matter if the patient has gastroenteritis.
- Polymerase Chain Reaction – A polymerase chain reaction is a technique that allows for millions of copies of a section of DNA to be made in a test tube. This helps the doctor determine what type of pathogen is causing the patient’s illness.
- Antigen Detection – Antigen detection is performed through enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, or ELISA. Antigens are molecules that provoke an immune response in the patient. The patient’s immune system then produces antibodies against the antigen to combat it. The ELISA test can tell the medical professional what kind of virus the patient has in their system that may be causing their illness.
- Serology – Serology checks the patient’s blood serum for sign of pathogens.
- Virus Isolation – In this diagnostic test, the virus is isolated from blood or other fluids by being put in a centrifuge or passed through a filter. The virus is then allowed to grow in a living being or an environment such as an agar plate or a bacterial lawn.