Childhood Diseases

Posted by: BMJ | 2010/11/11


A scary virus

Doc, on the weekend my son played with a little friend who was admitted to hospital with a viral infection that apparently attacks the blood vessels causing them to burst.

He seems fine to me at the moment. I dont know what the virus is called. Can you tell me anything at all and what the early symptoms would be. I am sorry the information is vague - I dont have any other information apart that it is a virus,that attacks blood vessels and is very painful.

Thank you

Expert's Reply



I am not sure exactlty which viral infection you mean, but if you are talking about a child the most likely illness is one called 'idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura' or ITP. This where small bleeding spots called purpura appear in the skin due to a defeiciency of small cells in the blood stream known as platelets. Platelets are important when the blood clots.The actual viruses which cause purpura are not usuually identified but purpura can sometimes follow on chicken pox and glandular fever so in at at least 2 types of purpura the virus is known.

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