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Glossary for Opportunistic infections

  • AIDS: A term given to HIV patients who have a low CD4 count (below 200) which means that they have low levels of a type of immune cell called T-cells. AIDS patients tend to develop opportunistic infections and cancers. Opportunistic infections are infections that would not normally affect a person with a healthy immune system. The HIV virus is a virus that attacks the body's immune system.
  • Autoimmune Lymphoproliferative Syndrome: An inherited autoimmune condition characterized by proliferation of lymphocytes and autoimmunity against the body's own blood cells resulting in premature death of certain blood cells.
  • Burns: Injury from burns and scalds.
  • Common Variable Immunodeficiency: An immunodeficiency disorder involving low blood gamma globulin levels which results in an increased susceptibility to infections. The condition may be inherited or can be caused by certain drugs (levamisole, hydantoin and carbamazepine).
  • Conditions involving a pathogen: Medical conditions involving some type of pathogen, such as a virus or bacteria.
  • Cytomegalovirus retinitis: Inflammation of the retina of the eye which can cause blindness. The cytomegalovirus is an easily transmissible viral infection that is common but generally causes no symptoms except in infants and people with weakened immune systems.
  • Fever: Elevation of the body temperature above the normal 37 degrees celsius
  • HIV/AIDS: HIV is a sexually transmitted virus and AIDS is the progressive immune failure that HIV causes.
  • Hyper-IgM Syndrome: A rare inherited immunodeficiency disorder which causes frequent infections involving the ears, eyes, sinuses, lungs, skin, respiratory tract and other areas of the body.
  • ICF syndrome: A very rare, recessively inherited syndrome characterized mainly by a weak immune system and facial anomalies.
  • Immune deficiency conditions: Any of various diseases that suppress the immune system.
  • Immune disorders: Disorders that affect the immune system
  • Irritable bowel syndrome: Spasms in the colon wall
  • Lymphadenopathy: Enlarged lymph nodes which may be caused by local or generalised infection, inflammatory conditions, malignancy or more unusual disorders.
  • Meningitis: Dangerous infection of the membranes surrounding the brain.
  • Night sweats: Night sweats is the occurrence of excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis) during sleep. The sufferer may or may not also suffer from excessive perspiration while awake.
  • Nosocomial infections: Any infection that originates in a hospital
  • Pain: A feeling of suffering, agony, distress caused by the stimulation of pain fibres in the nervous system
  • Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia: Pneumonia common as an opportunistic infection of AIDS.
  • Primary Immune Deficiency: Various types of immune deficiencies; usually genetic.
  • Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy: Progressive degenerative condition of the brain.
  • SCID: Major failure of the immune system, usually genetic.
  • Selective IgA Deficiency: Immune deficiency from lacking immunoglobulin A (IgA) antibodies.
  • Skin symptoms: Symptoms affecting the skin.
  • Surgical errors/complications: Any error or complication that arises from surgery
  • Swelling symptoms: Symptoms causing swelling or enlargement.
  • Thrush: Thrush is a fungal infection which is caused by a fungus from the Candida species. It usually affects the mucus membranes of the mouth and vagina. Occasionally the infection can spread throughout the body and cause severe illness.
  • Transplants: The transplantation of any tissue into an individual
  • Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome: An inherited immune system disorder that affects only males and is characterized by recurring infections, eczema and reduced level of blood platelets (thrombocytopenia).


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