Human Viral Diseases

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Human Viral Diseases :: List of Human DiseasesViral | Bacterial | Protozoan | Helminthic | Fungal


Caused by a Virus : Paramyxovirus.

Characterized by painful swelling of the salivary glands (particularly the parotid gland) accompanied with high fever.

Due to this, the movement of the jaw becomes very difficult.

In adults, the gonads (both testes and ovaries) may also become inflammed.


Caused by the virus, rubeola virus, 10 – 12 days incubation period.

At the end of this period, the buccal and respiratory passage (mucous membranes) show signs of inflammation.

There is a loss of appetite and eruption occurs on the skin.

Chicken Pox

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By vericella – zoster virus, highly contagious, generally in children less than 10 Years.


Caused by the smallest known virus, enterovirus.

The virus occurs only in man and it enters the body through contaminated food and water.

It multiplies in the cells of intestinal wall and then the infection spreads through the blood stream and lymphatic system.

The virus mainly attacks the C.N.S. and destroy the cells of the dorsal horn of spinal cord.

This results in the atrophy of the muscles of arms and legs as these muscles do not get the nerve impulses.

It usually leads to paralysis.

Influenza (or FLU)

Influenza is an acute respiratory tract infection caused by influenza virus.

Influenza viruses are classified within the family Orthomyxoviridae.

It spreads mainly from person to person by droplet infection or droplet nuclei created by sneezing, coughing or talking.

Influenza causes inflammation of upper respiratory tract, nose, throat and eyes.

Common Cold

Caused by rhinovirus (‘rhino’ means nose) which belongs to picornavirus group.

The viruses are transmitted through droplet nuclei, pharyngeal and nasal secretions.

Symptoms include headache, watery eyes, sneezing, excessive nasal secretions and cough.

Rabies (Hydrophobia)

Caused by RNA virus called Rabies virus. The virus is neutrotrophic, i.e., damages motor neurons of brain.

Rabies affects all warm blooded animals and is exclusively transmitted by the bites of carnivores.

It leads to encephalitis, fear of water (hence called hydrophobia), high fever, severe headache, spasm of throat and chest leading to death. Vaccine against rabies was developed by Louis Pasteur.


Hepatitis is the viral infection of liver.

It is accompanied by loss of appetite, nausea, whitish stool, but orange brown urine and jaundice which occur due to bilirubin released from damaged liver cells.

Hepatitis is of two types:

  • Hepatitis A (Epidemic Jaundice) : Caused by hepatitis A virus (HAV). It is transmitted from person to person by faecal-oral route. It is benign and usually not fatal.
  • Hepatitis B (Serum Hepatitis) : Caused by hepatitis B virus (HBV). It is transmitted by transfusion of contaminated blood and blood products. It may be chronic and is fatal.

Dengue Fever

It is an acute tropical frequently epidemic viral disease of humans which is caused by RNA containing dengue virus.

It is transmitted by the bite of female tiger mosquid Aedes aegypti during day time.

Two types of dengue fever are :

  • Classical dengue fever : More severe in adults and characterized by mild conjunctivitis, high fever, backache, retro-orbital pain (pain behind the eye ball) etc.
  • Dengue haemorrhagic fever: Fatal form with nausea, headache, vomiting abdominal pain, etc.

Yellow Fever

Caused by arbovirus. It is a haemorrhagic disease transmitted by the infected Aedet aegypti.

Symptoms are headache, fever, vomiting, rupture of veins in kidneys, spleen, liver, etc.

In severe cases, the skin of the sufferer becomes yellow from jaundice, hence the name yellow fever.

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