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Fighting Disease:
Health At The End Of The Millennium
Another Wired Curriculum from The United Nations CyberSchoolBus


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Glossary

Acute
A short and sharp course of diseases; not chronic.

Antibody
Molecules produced by B cells in response to specific proteins (antigens) carried by infected cells. Antibodies are directed against specific infections and help fight the disease.

Antigen
A protein "recognized" by the body as being foreign; it results in the production of specific antibodies directed against it.

Asymptomatic
Without symptoms. Many illnesses begin with a period during which there are no symptoms.

B cells
A specific kind of white blood cell that produces antibodies.

Bacillus, bacilli (pl)
Rod shaped bacteria.

Bacterium, bacteria (plural)
A microscopic one celled organism. Some bacteria are essential for our survival and others may cause disease.

Chronic
Of long duration, denoting a disease of slow progress and long duration.

Cocci
Spherical shaped bacteria.

Convalescence
The period of recovery.

Diarrhoeal diseases
Infections that cause severe diarrhoea, mainly spread by contaminated food or water; can cause death by severe dehydration.

Diphtheria
Respiratory disease transmitted by droplet and airborne transmission. Can interfere with swallowing; if not treated can result in heart disease or paralysis.

Droplet infection
Infection caused by inhaling tiny droplets of moisture from the cough or sneeze of an infected person which contain viruses or other pathogens.

Endemic
A disease that is always present in a community.

Epidemic
Occurrence in the community or region of a group of illnesses (or an outbreak) of similar nature, obviously in excess of normal expectancy and derived from a common or propagated source.

Epidemiology
The study of the incidence, distribution and determinants of an infection, disease or other health-related event in a population. Epidemiology can be thought of in terms of who, where, when, what, and why. That is, who has the infection/disease, where are they located geographically and in relation to each other, when is the infection/disease occurring, what is the cause, and why did it occur.

Immunity
Resistance to a specific disease.

Immunization
The act of inducing antibody formation leading to immunity.

Immunodeficiency
The inability of the immune system to satisfactorily protect the body, which results in an increased susceptibility to various cancers and opportunistic infections.

Incidence
The frequency of new infections during a designated time period expressed.

Incubation period
The period of time after exposure to a disease that it takes for the host to display symptoms of that disease.

Infectious period
The period of time during which an ill person may pass their disease onto another.

Insecticide
A chemical that kills insects.

Malaise
A hazy feeling of not being well.

Opportunistic infection
An infection caused by a microbe which a healthy person would be able to fight off. Opportunistic infections are found in immunodeficient persons, those suffering form AIDS, an those on chemo therapy.

Pandemic
A disease attacking or affecting all. Larger than an epidemic.

Parasites
An organism living on or in another organism called host. The parasite obtains its food from the host resulting in damage to the host.

Paroxysmal
A sudden onset of a symptom or disease.

Pathogen
An microbe, such as virus or bacteria, which may cause disease.

PolioPlus
A WHO and UNICEF- supported project dedicated to stamping out polio worldwide by the year 2000. It is also supported by NGOs, such as the Rotary Clubs International, and by governments, such as those of Australia, Canada and the United States of America.

Prevalence
Number of events present at a given point in time.

Protozoan, protozoa
A simple one-celled microorganism that can cause an infection.

Spirilla
Spiral shaped bacteria.

Surveillance program
A deliberate continuous effort by an agency to monitor the occurrence, prevalence and development of a particular disease.

T cells
A specific kind of white blood cell, active in controlling the immune response and attacking infections.

Vaccination
Administration of a vaccine.

Vaccine
A preparation made from killed or weakened pathogens which when introduced in the body induce the production of antibodies and thus boost the body's immunity against that pathogen.

Vector
An agent, usually an animal or an insect, that transmits a pathogen form one host to another.

Virus
An infectious agent made of protein and genetic material. It is not made of a cell and must invade another cell to reproduce.

White blood cell
Blood cells which are provide the body with its principle line of defense against disease.




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