Brooklyn Pediatric Infectious Diseases

Infectious Diseases in Children

Children’s infections are a group of infectious diseases that people carry mainly in childhood. These usually include chickenpox, rubella, mumps, measles, scarlet fever, polio, whooping cough, diphtheria. Infections are transmitted from the patient to a healthy child.

After the disease, a stable (sometimes lifelong) immunity is formed, so a person rarely gets sick with these infections. Now there are vaccines for almost every childhood infection.

7 Common Childhood Infectious Diseases, Their Treatment, and Prevention

Infectious Diseases in Children


Chickenpox is caused by the Herpes virus, which is transmitted by airborne droplets from sick children to healthy ones. The incubation period is from 10 to 21 days.

The disease begins with a rise in temperature, which is accompanied by a rash in the form of spots, a general malaise. The spots eventually turn into bubbles with a clear liquid that burst, dry out, and then crusts form. A typical difference between chickenpox and other diseases accompanied by rashes is the presence of a rash on the scalp. All elements of the rash are simultaneously present on the patient’s skin: spots, vesicles, and crusts. New rashes may occur within 5-7 days. Drying of the wound and the formation of crusts are accompanied by severe itching.

Sick chickenpox is contagious from the moment the first element of the rash appears and another 5 days after the last element.


With a normal course, chickenpox does not require treatment. The main thing is hygiene and good care, which allow you to prevent suppuration of the elements of the rash.

If the temperature rises above 100.4°F° F, the child should be given an antipyretic, preference is given to paracetamol-based drugs. Do not forget about antihistamines and local balms and ointments to relieve itching. The use of antiherpetic drugs is not recommended: the child does not form immunity when they are taken, and re-infection is possible.


There is a vaccine against chickenpox virus but it is not included in the Child Immunization Schedule, that is, it is not given to everyone for free. Parents can vaccinate their child at vaccination centers.


The causative agent of the disease is diphtheria bacillus. You can get infected from a sick person and from the carrier of the infection. Once on the mucous membranes (or skin), it releases a toxin, which causes the death of the epithelium. The nervous and cardiovascular systems, adrenal glands, and kidneys can also be affected. The incubation period is 2-10 days. A characteristic feature of diphtheria is a grayish, pearlescent film covering the affected mucous membranes.

The disease begins with an increase in body temperature (usually not higher than 100.4°F° F), a slight soreness, moderate redness of the mucous membranes appear. In severe cases, the temperature rises immediately to 104° F, the child complains of a headache and sore throat, sometimes in the abdomen. Tonsils can swell so much that it makes breathing difficult.


The child is hospitalized. Administration of anti-diphtheria serum is indicated. After hospitalization, the room is disinfected. All persons who were in contact with the patient are subject to bacteriological examination and medical observation within 7 days. Children in contact with the patient are not allowed to attend childcare facilities for this period.


All children receive a diphtheria vaccine with the DTP combination vaccine. In rare cases, a vaccinated child may also become ill, but the disease will proceed in a mild form.

Whooping cough

Whooping cough is an infection that is transmitted by airborne droplets and causes a painful cough. The source of infection is a sick person. The incubation period is from 3 to 14 days (usually 7–9). During the disease, three periods are distinguished.

The catarrhal period is characterized by persistent dry cough, which gradually intensifies. A runny nose and an increase in temperature to subfebrile can also be observed (but more often it remains normal). This period can last from three days to two weeks.

A spasmodic or convulsive period is characterized by coughing attacks. They consist of coughing jerks – short exhalations following one after another. From time to time, tremors are interrupted by a reprise – a breath that is accompanied by a whistling sound. The attack ends with the release of thick mucus, maybe vomiting. The severity of seizures increases within 1-3 weeks, then stabilizes, then seizures become rarer and disappear. The duration of the convulsive period can last 2-8 weeks but often drags on for a longer time.

After that, there comes a period of permission. At this time, the cough, which seems to have passed, may return, but the patient is not contagious.


Patients receive antibiotics from the macrolide group, centrally acting antitussive drugs, bronchodilator drugs in inhalations. An important role in therapy is played by non-drug methods: staying in the fresh air, sparing regimen, eating high-calorie foods, in small volumes, but often.


The pertussis vaccine is included in the Child Immunization Schedule and is given to children free of charge. Vaccinated children are also sometimes ill, but the disease has a mild form.


Measles is viral infection that spreads by airborne droplets. The source of infection is a sick person. The incubation period is 8-17 days but can be extended up to 21 days.

Measles begins with a fever up to 101.3–102.2° F, runny nose, dry cough, and photophobia. The child may experience vomiting, abdominal pain, loose stools. At this time, the mucous membranes of the cheeks and lips and the gums begin to cover with grayish-white spots the size of a poppy seed, surrounded by a red corolla. This is an early measles symptom that can be diagnosed before the rash appears.

The rash – small pink spots – occurs on the 4th-5th day of illness. The first elements appear behind the ears, on the back of the nose. By the end of the first day, it covers the face and neck, localized on the chest and upper back. On the second day, it extends to the body, on the third – it covers the arms and legs.


Measles is treated with antiviral drugs as well as immunomodulators. In severe cases, intravenous immunoglobulin injections may be prescribed. The rest of the treatment is symptomatic.

Bed rest is necessary not only on days of high temperature but also 2-3 days after its decrease.

Measles affects the nervous system. The child becomes moody, irritable, quickly tired. Schoolchildren should be exempted from overload for 2-3 weeks, a child of preschool age should prolong sleep and walks.


The first measles vaccine is given to all children at the age of one year, the second – at the age of 7.


Rubella virus is transmitted from a sick person by airborne droplets. The incubation period is 11-23 days. A person infected with rubella begins to secrete the virus one week before the onset of clinical symptoms and ends within a week or two after all signs of the disease disappear.

A typical manifestation of rubella is swelling and mild soreness of the posterior cervical, occipital and other lymph nodes. At the same time (or 1–2 days later), a pale pink small-spotted rash appears on the face and entire body. After another 2-3 days, it disappears without a trace. Rash can be accompanied by a slight increase in body temperature, mild respiratory tract disorders. But often there are no such symptoms.

Complications are extremely rare. Rubella is dangerous only if a pregnant woman falls ill with it, especially in the first months. The disease can cause severe fetal malformations.


There is currently no specific treatment for rubella. In the acute period, the patient must observe bed rest. With an increase in temperature, antipyretic drugs are used, with an itchy rash – antihistamines.


Not so long ago, a rubella vaccine was introduced on the Child Immunization Schedule.

Infectious mumps

Infection occurs by airborne droplets. The incubation period is from 11 to 21 days.

The disease begins with a fever up to 101.3–102.2° F, a headache. A tumor appears behind the auricle, first on one side, and after 1-2 days on the other side. The patient becomes infectious 1-2 days before the onset of symptoms and releases the virus in the first 5-7 days of illness.

In adolescent boys, orchitis often develops – inflammation of the testicle: there is a pain in the scrotum, the testicle grows in size, the scrotum swells. Edema passes in 5-7 days. Heavily leaking orchitis, especially bilateral, can lead to infertility in the future.

Inflammation of the pancreas is also typical. A patient feels cramping, sometimes girdling pain in the abdomen, nausea, and decreased appetite.

Serous meningitis is also common. This complication is manifested by a new jump in temperature on the 3rd – 6th day of illness, headache, vomiting, and increased sensitivity to sound and visual irritants. The child becomes lethargic, drowsy, sometimes he or she has hallucinations, convulsive twitching, and there may be a loss of consciousness. But these phenomena do not last long (with timely and rational therapy) and do not affect the subsequent development of the child.


A doctor may prescribe antiviral, immunomodulatory, antipyretic, analgesics, and a dry warming compress applied to the salivary glands.

With orchitis, a patient should be examined by a surgeon or urologist, treatment in a hospital is often required. With serous meningitis, the child requires constant medical supervision in a hospital.


To prevent mumps infection, all children are vaccinated in accordance with the Child Immunization Schedule.

Scarlet fever

The disease is caused by beta-hemolytic streptococcus group A. A child can get infected not only from a patient with scarlet fever but also from patients with streptococcal tonsillitis. The incubation period is 2-7 days. The patient becomes contagious from the moment of illness. If the disease proceeds without complications, then after 7-10 days, the release of streptococcus ceases. If complications develop, then the infectious period is delayed.

The disease usually begins with a sudden increase in temperature, vomiting, sore throat. After a few hours (and sometimes the next day), a rash appears. It is small, plentiful, harsh to the touch. The cheeks are especially thick with a rash. Other typical places of an intense rash are the flanks, lower abdomen, groin, axillary and popliteal cavities. The rash lasts 3-5 days. Mild scarlet fever occurs with short-term rashes.

A constant sign of scarlet fever is a sore throat. The tongue in the first days is covered with a gray-yellow coating. From the 2nd to 3rd day it begins to clear from the edges and tip, becoming raspberry. Lymph nodes at the corners of the lower jaw enlarge and hurt when touched.

Group A beta-hemolytic streptococcus is also able to affect the heart, joints, kidneys, therefore, timely treatment of the disease is required.


During the first 5-6 days, the child should remain in bed, then he or she is allowed to get up but is not allowed to go outside for another week. Kindergarten and school can be attended no earlier than 22 days after the onset of the disease.

The child is prescribed antibiotics. Sometimes doctors prescribe combined drugs for sore throat, as with angina. If necessary, the patient is given antipyretic drugs. A sparing diet, heavy drinking is recommended.

Three weeks after the onset of the disease, it is recommended to make an electrocardiogram, pass urine for analysis and consult an otolaryngologist to make sure that there are no complications.


A patient with scarlet fever should be isolated in a separate room, he or she should have separate tableware and towel. Isolation of the patient ceases after recovery but not earlier than 10 days from the onset of the disease. There is no vaccination against this disease.

Category: Health Care | Tags: bacterial infections, children, children health, infection, infectious disease