Articles on Viruses

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Human poo is a concoction made up mostly of water with a sprinkling of the solid stuff. from www.shutterstock.com

Your poo is (mostly) alive. Here’s what’s in it

Around 75% of our faeces is made up of water. The other 25% is the good stuff, including bacteria, viruses and undigested food.
An Atlanta hospital set up a mobile ER to deal with the large number of flu cases. AP Photo/David Goldman

Why did the flu kill 80,000 Americans last year?

Part of the problem was a mismatch between the influenza strains circulating and the vaccine available. Here's how annual flu shots are formulated.
Monitoring sewage for virus allows for a quick public health response if any polio is detected. AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Sewage surveillance is the next frontier in the fight against polio

Polio can be circulating through a community long before anyone is paralyzed. Monitoring sewage for the virus lets public health officials short-circuit this 'silent transmission.'
Every surface of our body – inside and out – is covered in microorganisms: bacteria, viruses, fungi and many other microscopic life forms. vrx/Shutterstock.com

Meet the trillions of viruses that make up your virome

Just because you don't have the flu doesn't mean that your aren't teeming with viruses inside and out. But what are all these viruses doing, if they aren't making you sick?
Bejing. Bird flu is transmitted in various ways and the process needs to be studied in depth. Sojourner in a Strange Land/Flicker

Bird flu: are viruses still in the air?

A scientific question fascinates experts : under which conditions can bird flu virus be transmitted to humans by aerial particles, and what will be the consequences for those who aren’t immune?
Tagged European rabbit kitten infected with myxoma virus, but that died from rabbit haemorrhagic virus disease (RHDV). Photo by David Peacock, Biosecurity South Australia

Tandem virus cocktail kills pest rabbits more effectively

Feral rabbits previously exposed to myxoma virus are more likely to be killed by rabbit haemorrhagic diease, meaning that these two biocontrol agents can become even more powerful when used in tandem.
Health workers get ready to spray insecticide in advance of the 2016 Summer Olympics, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to combat the mosquitoes that transmit the Zika virus in this Jan. 26, 2016 photo. (AP Photo/Leo Correa, File)

Viruses can cause global pandemics, but where did the first virus come from?

Recent discoveries of ancient viruses are helping scientists understand their origins.
Imported frozen pomegranate seeds have been linked to hepatitis A infections in NSW. from www.shutterstock.com

What is hepatitis A and how can you get it from eating frozen fruit?

Hepatitis A is a virus that infects the liver. Symptoms usually take 15-50 days to develop after initial infection and typically last for several weeks or sometimes longer.
Watching bacteria and viruses duke it out, evolving to outwit each other. UC San Diego

Discovery of a surprise multitasking gene helps explain how new functions and features evolve

A core idea in molecular biology is that one gene codes for one protein. Now biologists have found an example of a gene that yields two forms of a protein – enabling it to evolve new functionality.
What will it take to finish polio off in the last three countries where it persists? AP Photo/B.K. Bangash

Inching closer to a world without polio

Pakistan had only eight new diagnoses of polio in 2017. The virus' days look numbered – but health workers have their work cut out for them to eradicate the devastating disease once and for all.
People and animals live side by side – and can have pathogens in common. Nichola Hill

Influenza’s wild origins in the animals around us

No one then knew a virus caused the 1918 flu pandemic, much less that animals can be a reservoir for human illnesses. Now virus ecology research and surveillance are key for public health efforts.

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