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Document 12: Viral Infections

In article 5, we touched a little bit about the virus pathogen. In this edition, we will discuss viral diseases which are the infections caused by viruses.

There are many types of viruses that cause a wide variety of viral diseases. The symptoms of the viral infection occur because of cell damage, tissue destruction, and the associated immune response.

The contagious period for each virus varies, as it depends on the type of virus. Also, symptoms appear depending on the type of virus which is commonly called the “Incubation period”. The incubation period refers to the time between exposure to a virus and the development of symptoms.

Viral diseases are contagious. They spread from person to person when a virus enters the body and begins to multiply. Common ways that viruses spread from person to person include:

• Breathing in airborne droplets contaminated with a virus
• Eating food or drinking water contaminated with a virus
• Having unprotected sexual contact with a person who is infected with a sexually transmitted virus
• Indirect transmission from person to person by a virus-host, such as a mosquito, tick, or field mouse
• Touching surfaces or body fluids contaminated with a virus

Unlike bacterial infections that respond to antibiotics, viral infections are not so easy to treat. Treatment of viral infections varies, depending on the specific virus and other factors. General treatment measures are aimed to relieving symptoms so that the patients can get adequate rest, keep strength, and recover without developing complications. Maintaining excellent hydration, good nutrition, getting extra rest and sleep is essential during the period of time of viral infection.

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