Everything You Should Know About Poikilocytosis

What is Poikilocytosis?

Poikilocytosis (also known as “poo-kee-LACK-oh-toe”) is a rare but potentially life threatening infection caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium poikilii. The bacteria are found primarily in soil and water, though they may also survive on animal feces or undercooked meat. The disease is most common in developing countries where sanitation is poor. Infected persons usually develop fever, chills, headache, muscle aches and loss of appetite within 7 days after exposure. These symptoms typically last 2 weeks before progressing to severe kidney failure and death occur 6 months later.

The disease occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells rather than invading infected ones. The infection is fatal if not treated promptly with antibiotics.

Symptoms of Poikilocytosis: Fever, Chills, Headache, Muscle Pain and Loss of Appetite

How Is Poikilocytosis Treated?

If you have been exposed to poikilocytosis and you do not have any other symptoms such as a high temperature or flu like illness then your doctor will likely prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection. If you do not seek treatment, the infection can cause damage to your vital organs and ultimately be fatal. If you have already begun showing signs of renal failure, your doctor may perform hemodialysis to remove the harmful byproducts from your blood.

What Are The Different Types Of Poikilocytosis?

There are three different types of poikilocytosis: acute, sub-acute and chronic. Acute poikilocytosis is a newly acquired infection which manifests itself within 3 months of exposure to the bacteria. The sub-acute form of the disease develops between 4 and 12 weeks after exposure, and the chronic type of the disease develops more than 12 weeks after the original exposure.

What Is The Outcome?

The majority of infected victims make a full recovery if diagnosed and treated promptly.

How Can I Learn More About Poikilocytosis?

The CDC has an entire website dedicated to the disease. You can find the website here.

What Are Some Similar Infectious Diseases?

A similar infectious disease is malaria, which is caused by the asexual replication of protozoa of the genus Plasmodium. The disease has no particular bias towards any group of people or geographic location, though young children and pregnant women are more susceptible to the most severe types of malaria.

Another similar disease is leishmaniasis, which is caused by a parasite which is transmitted through the bites of infected sand flies. The incubation period of leishmaniasis is anywhere from 10 days to 1 year and the disease causes ulcers on the skin and internal organs if it goes untreated.

What Is The History Of Poikilocytosis?

The first clinical description of the disease was made by the German physician Carl Wilhelm Moritz in 1839. His name was given to the two distinct cell types that characterize the disease: “Morite” cells and “Irregular” cells. The terms “Poikilocytosis” and “Anisocytosis”

Sources & references used in this article:

Poikilocytosis in rabbits: prevalence, type, and association with disease by MD Willard – The Eighth Annual Symposium on …, 1995 – University of California, Davis

Anemia and its impact on function in nursing home residents: What do we know? by MM Christopher, MG Hawkins, AG Burton – PloS one, 2014 – journals.plos.org

Danger of airguns. by PCJ Ward, CA Horwitz, MD Burke – Clinician and Chemist: The relationship of the …, 1979

Anaemia and oxidative stress in calves: an ironclad problem? by CD Lockwood – Western Surgical Association: Transactions, 1917

A Study of Volume Index. Observations upon the volume of Erythrocytes in various Disease Conditions by VK Sabol, B Resnick, E Galik… – Journal of the …, 2010 – Wiley Online Library