WORD LISTS

Swine flu vocabulary

May 5, 2009
By Ben Zimmer (New York, NY)Visual Thesaurus ContributorVisual Thesaurus Moderator
swine flu
An outbreak of swine flu in Mexico has raised concerns worldwide that the disease could be emerging as a global pandemic.
pandemic
An outbreak of swine flu in Mexico has raised concerns worldwide that the disease could be emerging as a global pandemic.
severe acute respiratory syndrome
The virus that caused widespread panic in Asia in 2003, SARS -- severe acute respiratory syndrome -- is both easily spread and virulent.
lethality
Even a flu with a low percentage of lethality can cause a large number of deaths if vast swaths of populations are infected -- seasonal flus kill an estimated 250,000 to 500,000 people worldwide each year.
virus
On April 29, 2009, the World Health Organization raised its alert level to its highest level ever in response to the fast-spreading virus, indicating that a "pandemic is imminent."
vaccine
Federal officials said it would take until January, or late November at the earliest, to make enough vaccine to protect all Americans from a possible epidemic of the H1N1 flu.
containment
International health experts, who say the epidemic will spread regardless of attempts at containment, advise against closing borders, which will not stop the virus but could cause economic collapse and possibly increase the death rate.
transmissible
But it has shown very little ability to pass from person to person, mainly infecting poultry, and some experts have suggested that there may be something about the H5N1 virus that makes it inherently less transmissible among people.
antiviral
Mexican health officials said the virus responded to Tamiflu and other antiviral medications if administered shortly after the onset of flu.
infectious disease
This outbreak has caused concern because officials have never seen this particular strain of the flu passing among humans before, said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
virologist
Virologists have tracked the avian virus since its discovery in Hong Kong in 1997.
quarantined
In China, authorities have quarantined some 70 Mexican travelers in hospitals and hotels - many of whom have shown no sign of illness.
virulent
The virus that caused widespread panic in Asia in 2003, SARS -- severe acute respiratory syndrome -- is both easily spread and virulent.
hospitalization
As the virus has continued to spread without causing deaths or even large numbers of hospitalization, many experts have been questioning whether the new strain of flu is deadlier than normal seasonal flu.
epidemic
Health authorities around the world are taking extraordinary measures to combat the epidemic and mitigate its effects.
ventilator
Many of those lives would have been saved if anti-flu drugs, antibiotics and mechanical ventilators had existed.
genetic
There is not yet any genetic proof that this strain of influenza ever came from a pig.
transmission
The most common method of transmission is airborne, and it is also possible to become infected by touching a surface with the virus on it and then touching one's mouth or nose.
antibiotic
Many of those lives would have been saved if anti-flu drugs, antibiotics and mechanical ventilators had existed.
mortality rate
As a benchmark, the deadliest influenza pandemic in the past century, the Spanish influenza of 1918 to 1919, had an estimated mortality rate of around 2.5 percent but killed tens of millions of people because it spread so widely.
contaminated
The C.D.C. is advising people to wash their hands frequently, and also to avoid surfaces that might be contaminated.
medication
Mexican health officials said the virus responded to Tamiflu and other antiviral medications if administered shortly after the onset of flu.
contagious
In one sign that the disease may not be as serious as feared, Mexican Health Minister Jose Angel Cordova said that the flu, influenza A(H1N1), appears only slightly more contagious than the seasonal flu, less than thought.
immunity
Most people lack immunity to this new virus and, as it continues to spread, health officials are expecting more patients in hospital and more deaths in the coming days and weeks.
vulnerable
Unlike typical flu seasons, when infants and the aged are the most vulnerable, none of the initial deaths in Mexico were in people older than 60 or younger than 3, a spokeswoman with the World Health Organization said.

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Comments from our users:

Wednesday May 6th 2009, 3:18 AM
Comment by: Janet H. (Morton, IL)
Antibiotic and references to the use of antibiotics to treat viral infections continues to cause some degree of frustration for me. Physicians who treat viral infections with bacterail antiobiotics think that they are correct because secondary bacterial infections can occur.
However, if a patient shows no symptonms of a bacterial infection, then the use of antibiotics only validates current thought about how
children and general public who get bacterial infections cannot be treated with regular bacterial antibiotcs. Why is a staph infection now incurable in this country? Ask physicians who have prescribed bacterial antibiotics for patients who call in with a "bad cold" or the "flu" in the past 10-15 years!
Tuesday July 28th 2009, 3:21 PM
Comment by: Bill F. (Houston, TX)
Janet H., well said. It's a serious problem!!
Thursday August 27th 2009, 10:36 PM
Comment by: Dennis L.
Mutation
Wednesday September 16th 2009, 9:45 AM
Comment by: Dad61
I have a problem with using "pandemic" and "vaccine" together as the WHO and others do, as in "pandemic vaccine". It causes a misunderstanding of the relationship of the pandemic and/or the vaccine. People think that there is a difference between a "pandemic vaccine" and a "vaccine", when the only difference is the formula for that particular "disease"(for lack of a better word). The only relationship those 2 words have is that a "vaccine" is used for any particular "pandemic." The word pandemic is not exclusive to illness, nor is the word "vaccine" exclusive to influenza.

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