Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Viruses are tiny organisms that may lead to mild to severe illnesses in humans, animals and plants. This may include flu or a cold to something more life threatening like HIV. Dr. Edward Hill discusses viruses in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

A virus is a small infectious agent that can replicate only inside the living cells of an organism. Viruses are submicroscopic, meaning that you cant see them with a standard laboratory microscope. In fact, most viruses are only one one-hundreth to one one-thousandth the size of most bacteria. They are so small that some forms of viruses prey only on bacteria instead of animals or humans.

Many viruses invade the body by crossing the moist mucous membranes that line the breathing passages, eyes, intestines and reproductive tracts. They get there by traveling in an infected persons body fluids or in the airborne droplets of coughs and sneezes. Once inside the body, viruses invade and cause illness.

Some forms of viruses can be totally defeated by the immune system. Others, like the chicken pox virus and herpes simplex virus, can lie dormant in our cells and cause more than one episode of illness, even years after infection.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.