Viremia is a medical condition that you may hear every now and then. But, do you have any idea about what it exactly is? When the viruses enter your blood in some way, it gets access to your body. The condition resembles bacteremia. It is the medical condition caused due to the bacteria entering your bloodstream. The virus entering your body is a sign for impending disaster. It can attack your immunity system and cause several issues. You may become more prone to diseases. Therefore, you need to maintain caution with the viremia. Want to know more about the problem? Then, read ahead to get comprehensive information about it.
What Is Viremia?
Table of Contents
The presence of any type of virus in your bloodstream is known medical as viremia. The terms are derived from the Greek language. It combines the word virus and haima (the Greek word meaning blood). If the condition is primary, then the virus can last in your blood for four to five days. Several types of viruses are present in the universe. The viruses have a contagious nature. It can spread very quickly from one person to another. The viruses affect the skin in most cases, but some can enter into your bloodstream. Once your blood has a viral presence, you can see some signs and symptoms. Subsequently, the signs depend on the type of virus that has entered the blood.
The virus in the blood has access to all tissues and organs of your body. Therefore, you are at great risk of getting affected by diseases. The signs and symptoms of the viremia depend on the particular type of virus entered in your blood. Viremia is a common occurrence due to the infection. But, it has a deadly side to with certain infections. Therefore, you need to maintain caution.
What Is A Virus?
Before moving on viremia, you need to know what a virus is. It helps you understand the significance of the problem. So, you can take necessary action according to the situation. A virus is defined as the microscopic organism that is very small in size. The microscopic organism means you cannot see the virus with the naked eye. It is only visible under a microscope. The virus has a protein coating. It is made of a genetic material that depends on a living host. So, it latches on a living organism like humans or animal for its survival. It attacks the cells of the living organism and multiplies. The multiplication process can produce new viruses. The process known as viral replication is potentially harmful to your health.
Types Of Viremia
You can classify the viremia into different types depending on the mode of spreading. The classification includes the following:
With primary viremia, the virus spreads to your bloodstream from the infection site. So, as the name suggests, it gets into the blood from the initial site affected by the infection.
It refers to the spreading of the virus from the blood to the other organs. So, the tissue or organs that come in contact with the virus infected blood gets affected. The primary viremia results in infections to the additional organs or tissues due to viral replication. The replicated virus gets into the blood and causes health issues.
The secondary viremia can trigger higher viral shedding. The successful reproduction and release of the viral progeny are referred to as viral shedding. It is due to the fact that the virus can replicate more effectively by reaching its host cell with the condition. A very good example of the condition is rabies.
During the condition, the viral replication takes place after it enters the bloodstream. So, the replication takes place first, then it is introduced into your blood. One of the examples of the condition is measles.
The condition leads to the direct entry of the virus into the blood without replication. Therefore, the virus gains entry into the bloodstream like from a mosquito bite or blood transfusion.
Causes Of Viremia
Different types of virus cause viremia. You can guess from the name itself that the main reason for the problem is the virus. The virus has the tendency to get attached to your cells. It then releases its RNA or DNA. With the action, it takes control of your cell completely. Then, it forces your cell to replicate the virus. In such a manner, the virus can enter the bloodstream. The main ways the virus can enter the blood are through the opening in your skin caused by:
The ways it can happen are through the blood transfusion, contaminated needle, and the insect bite. Therefore, the main viruses that lead to the issue are:
- Dengue Virus
- West Nile Virus
- Epstein – Barr virus
- Hepatitis B Virus
- Yellow Fever virus
- Varicella-Zoster Virus (VZV causing shingles and chickenpox)
The Reasons Leading To Spreading Of Viremia
People with viremia can spread the infection to another person who is in close contact with them. The chances of other getting the infection from you are higher. The different ways resulting in the spreading of the viremia includes:
The blood transfusion is one of the common causes of the viremia spreading to others. Though it is a rare occurrence in the medical field, negligence of the hospital can cause the issue. Giving untested blood to patients in need of blood transfusion can result in the virus spreading.
The common blood to blood transmission of the virus occurs with the drug users. The sharing of the infected needle with one another can result in the problem. Therefore, drug users are more prone to complicated health issues.
Having sex with a person infected by a virus can make you prone to getting affected by the same virus. So, sexual contact increases the chance of the virus spreading from one person to another.
Through Respiratory Tract
Some virus can travel through the air and come in contact with others. So, it can spread through the respiratory tract when someone sneezes, coughs or spits.
Bite Of Infected Animal
The bite from an infected animal or insect can spread the virus. It can enter your bloodstream directly via mosquito, tick or dog bite.
Cut In The Skin
The open wound on your skin made by a cut or scrape can help the virus enter your bloodstream
The other common route of transmission of the virus into your body are:
- Contact with the feces (mostly fecal-oral)
- From a pregnant mother to unborn baby
- Though the breast milk of the mother to a child
The common transmission route of the viruses is via the respiratory tract. But, not all virus spread through the respiratory tract. Some deadly viruses like HIV can only spread through blood transfusion, swapping of bodily fluids (having sex without using a condom) or from pregnant mother to the unborn child. The virus invades a living cell to reproduce and spread. So, it cannot live long without a living host. The mosquito bites can make the virus enter the bloodstream directly. For example, the deadly Zika virus spread from one person to another through an infected mosquito.
Symptoms Of Viremia
The symptoms of viremia depend mostly on the type of virus that enters your bloodstream. So, the virus can trigger some signs or symptoms that are specific to the type of virus. But, in general, the viral infection in your blood can cause the following symptoms:
- A headache
- Joint Pain
- Body Aches
If you have a strong immune system, then you can fight off the viral infection. So, you may never see any signs or symptoms associated with the viremia. It can clear very quickly without any treatment.
Contagious Nature Of Viremia
If you have read carefully, then you know that not all virus behave the same way. The contagious nature of the viremia depends entirely on the cause behind your infection. The time between the exposure to the viral infection and the time when the symptoms start to occur in your body is referred to as incubation period. It is the period that makes you vulnerable to the disease. So, it is the time period that associates with the contagious nature of viremia.
During the incubating period, some viruses are more prone to replicate and affect the other important areas of your body. While others like Ebola are not contagious during the incubation period. Subsequently, it triggers the signs of acute infection. You may experience fever and pain due to the problem. The early symptoms indicate the upcoming danger. The prodrome stage is the time you need to take necessary action from preventing complications like hemorrhagic fever and rash.
The incubation time of the virus varies from twenty-four hours to a few years. You need to understand that the shorter incubation period refers to the infection at the site (primary). So, the symptoms that take a long time to appear to you means you have a secondary infection (somewhere else in your body).
Once you suspect the presence of the virus in your bloodstream, you need to contact your doctor. The doctor can perform a thorough checkup to detect the problems. So, your doctor performs the following for a better diagnosis
Your doctor assesses your symptoms closely. With viremia, you may suffer from the following issues like:
- Muscle Aches
- Swollen Lymph Glands
Your doctor may ask you some vital questions. The answers you provide assists with the precise diagnosis. So, you need to answer the following queries:
In recent times, have you come in contact with any sick individual with a viral infection?
- Did you have unprotected sex?
- Have you traveled to a country or a region under the threat or outbreak of any virus?
- Did you share a needle with any other person?
- Have you bitten by any animal or tick lately?
- Did you have a blood transfusion very recently?
If your doctor suspects anything suspicious, further tests are ordered.
Your doctor can determine the presence of virus with a blood test. The tests can look for the presence of the virus and shed light on the type of virus. The blood drawn from you gets tested in the lab using a technique known as PCR. The polymerase chain reaction can detect the viral DNA or RNA that indicates viremia.
Complication Of Viremia
The untreated viremia can cause several other conditions that can prove fatal to your life. As the virus enters your bloodstream, it has access to all the tissues as well as organs in your body. Some virus target specific tissues in your body. So, it is named after the tissue it infects. Intriguing? Here are some examples that will make things more clearly to you.
- Virus coming under the pantropic virus category can replicate itself in many organs.
- The enteric virus focusses on the gastrointestinal system and it replicates in the region.
- The neurotropic virus can replicate in your nervous system cells.
The viruses can affect your cells in a negative manner. The injuries to the cells can lead to programmed cell death (apoptosis). Mostly, your immune system can successfully fight the virus off. People with weak immune system need proper treatment to relieve the problem. But, failure to get treatment can result in the complication. The complication depends entirely on the type of virus entered into your bloodstream. So, the complication you can face are:
- Skin Lesions
- Neurological Problem
- Brain Damage
- Heart Inflammation
- Weakened Immune System
- Hepatitis (Inflammation Of Liver)
The treatment of viremia depends mainly on the types of virus that enters your bloodstream. In most cases, the immune system can clear the infection on its own. So, you just need to take treatments to clear the symptoms. It will make you feel better as the discomfort is alleviated. If the problem persists, you need to consult your doctor immediately. Depending on the issue, you can get treatments like:
- Fluids to prevent dehydration
- Take NSAIDs or acetaminophen to reduce fever and body pain
- Treat rashes with anti-itch creams
- Use nasal decongestants for nose blocks
- Overcome a sore throat with throat-numbing lozenges
- Take loperamide, the anti-diarrheal medication for loose stools
Your doctor may prescribe antiviral medication to treat viremia in some cases. It is because the antibiotics never work for the infection caused by the viruses. The medications can get into your bloodstream and prevent the virus from replicating.
But, the antiviral drugs have an issue. It is dangerous to the human cells due to the toxic nature. In some cases, the virus may develop resistance to the medications. The best method to stop viremia is to take vaccination to prevent it from affecting your health.
Vaccination To Prevent Viremia
With the advancement in the medical field, you now have vaccines to reduce the risk of viral infections. Therefore, taking the vaccine can reduce your risk of developing any problem due to the common viruses. The vaccine consists of the deactivated virus or a part of the virus. The vaccine gets introduced into your body and stimulates the immune system. The vaccines work in your body by exposing a small portion of the virus to your immune system. It helps your body’s immune system to recognize the virus immediately. So, when the viremia affects you, the immune system can invade the virus. It helps to eradicate the virus before it initiates an infection.
You may receive vaccination or immunization at a very young age. So, you continue to receive vaccination throughout your childhood and continue it till you become an adult. When you travel to an international location, you need to take vaccinations. The effectiveness of the vaccination depends on the specific type. But, mostly, it can prevent issues for a couple of months to decades. The vaccines can treat the active cases of the virus when it acts as preventives. Right now, the vaccine is available for viral infections like:
The viremia outlook depends on the type of virus that infects you. Some virus can cause deadly consequences in your life. The strains of such viruses can prove fatal. But, with the earlier detection of the problem makes it easier to cure it. People with a weak immune system due to old age or other diseases can get adversely affected by viremia. Never worry, the advancement in the medical field offers you plenty of chances to get well. The vaccination can also prevent the entry of the virus into your bloodstream. Therefore, in recent years, the medications have improved the outlook of viremia.View Article Sources