House S08EP16 “Gut Check”
Another Monday, and another episode of House, at least for a few more weeks as the series winds down. A timely episode this evening, what with the hockey playoffs starting up, as a minor league hockey player coughs up blood on the ice, landing him into Princeton Plainsboro. Also, Wilson drops a bomb onto House. For those of you who didn’t see the promo after last week’s episode, it apparently involves Wilson’s son. Is this a case of Wilson pranking House? Find out Monday night at 9 PM!
Back on Tuesday AM with the recap and diagnosis. Wilson’s paternity scare ended up not being Wilson’s prank on everyone, but of course was House pranking Wilson, “in order to teach him a lesson.” I’m reminded of the running gag on Arrested Development, where all of the major characters took turns using emotional blackmail, in order to teach the lesson that you shouldn’t try to teach someone a lesson. All’s good by the end, and we revert to Wilson’s status quo–no relationship, no children.
Our hockey player (Bobby) exhibited a number of signs and symptoms through the episode, including coughing up blood, an enlarged spleen, enlarged breasts, liver dysfunction, and paralysis of his extremities. Their penultimate diagnosis is that he has somehow acquired botulism, and begin treating him using artificial passive immunization by administering botulinum antitoxin, however his condition does not resolve. The team later concludes that Bobby has Epstein Barr Virus, an ubiquitous virus that causes a number of related diseases in humans.
It is estimated that up to 95% of US adults have been infected with EBV at some point in their lives. Overt infection in children leads to infectious mononucleosis, or “mono,” a contagious infection that results in a number of general virus-associated signs of disease. Generally the immune system is able to bring the disease under control, however steroid treatments may help to relieve some of the symptoms. Complications due to EBV infection are rare, but happened to the patient in this episode of House. There is no cure or vaccine for EBV infection, and treatments are designed for management of pain and fever.