How Can A Virus Kill A Healthy Teen?

11:09 PM, Mar 25, 2013   |    comments
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Undated -- Joseph Level says a pathologist at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center told him his son died from a condition called myocarditis.

The Mayo Clinic says myocarditis is an inflammation of the middle layer of the heart wall. It's usually caused by viral, bacterial, or fungal infections that reach the heart. Web MD says the most common cause is a viral infection. Normally, when you have an infection, our bodies make cells to fight the infection. But if the disease-fighting cells enter the heart, they can release chemicals that can damage your heart muscle.

Myocarditis often doesn't have any symptoms. But if there are symptoms, they can include shortness of breath, abnormal heartbeat, light-headedness, chest pain, and other normal signs of infection -- like a fever, aches, a sore throat, or headache. If doctors can catch it, treatment usually includes medicines to help the heart function better. 

The Myocarditis Foundation says Myocarditis usually attacks otherwise healthy people. They also say it is believed to be responsible for five to 20 percent of sudden deaths in all young adults.

WFMY News 2

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