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Author Topic: What are the most interesting Viruses and the Disease they cause?  (Read 14103 times)

Offline Szostak

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I gotta present a seminar to my classmates about virus infections, and i'd like to present some cool viruses, not those that couse cold and stuff. I mean, some that cause really disturbing diseases. Note, i don't want to turn this into a STD seminar, so throw me some complex and rare (or any disturbing viral infection that causes some damn bizarre diseases)
Thank you guys for the help :P.


 

Offline CliffordK

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Here are some ideas to read, and some links to follow up for more information.

I'm not going to restrict to human pathology.

Viruses come in several types based on their genetic material, and can either be single stranded or double stranded RNA, or single or double stranded DNA viruses, and may carry positive or negative sense genetic material.  They may require their own proteins to begin replication.

The largest virus so far discovered is the Pandoravirus with a DNA length of about 1.9 to 2.5 megabases of DNA, and about 1 micron (1000 nm) in size.  It is larger than some bacteria, with more base pairs than some bacteria.  But, don't go to your physician complaining of a pandoravirus infection, as it only infects amoebas. 

In fact there are viruses that infect almost every other organism including bacteria (bacteriophages), and while not exactly infecting viruses, virophages require virus co-infections in their host.

Some of the latest research is to use viruses or phages to kill other pathological organisms.  And, of course, since viruses are designed to deliver genetic material to other cells, they are very important for the study of gene therapies.

One of the nastiest viral infections may be Herpesviral_encephalitis where the virus attacks the brain.

Did you have chickenpox as a child?  Did you know that you are likely a carrier of the virus.  It can go dormant in your ganglion nerve cells, then recur in adulthood as shingles which is the SAME Virus returning half a lifetime later.  And, the adult shingles can re-infect children, starting the whole cycle all over again.

Smallpox, of course, was a virus, and perhaps one of the biggest success stories in vaccination.  In fact, it is the only human disease that is considered to be eradicated, along with one viral disease in cattle. 

Polio is close to eradication, but still has a few cases that pop up in southern Asia and Africa.  There are actually two Polio vaccines.  The most common is an oral vaccine called OPV, which is a live attenuated virus, but it will occasionally cause vaccine associated illness.  The injectable vaccine, IPV is an inactivated virus, and does not cause disease.  However, the IPV requires multiple doses to achieve full immunity which can be difficult in the 3rd world.  In the USA, it used to be dosed with two doses of IPV followed by one dose of OPV, but may now only be used as IPV as the virus is no longer endemic in the USA (or Europe).

There are a number of very different viruses that cause liver dysfunction, or hepatitis.  They are lumped together as Hep A, Hep B, Hep C, Hep D, and Hep E.  But keep in mind that some are DNA viruses, and others are RNA viruses.  In fact, Hepatitis D, is a satellite virus, and requires a Hepatitis B co-infection.  Anyway, the issues with Hepatitis B & C is that they frequently cause an acute infection, followed by a chronic infection that can eventually destroy one's liver, perhaps over the course of decades.
 

Offline distimpson

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Hello Szostak, I remember some intense discussions when learning about the Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers, definitely disturbing symptoms: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viral_hemorrhagic_fever.

Ebola, Lassa, Dengue, some bad agents of the viral world for humans and sometimes other primates too.

Hope this helps, best wishes on the seminar.
 

Offline cheryl j

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Although, the flu may not seem that exciting, the 1918 Influenza has a really interesting history.The influenza epidemic of 1918 killed 50-100 million out of 1.8 billion on the planet, more than the Bubonic plague.  Unlike most strains of flu, it killed young healthy people because their immune systems reacted so violently to it. The muscle aches and pains were so bad, some people screamed when touched. Lungs filled with fluid and bubbles of gas, fevers were so high, that doctors sometimes thought they were dealing with malaria or dengue fever, or some other disease.  It killed 675,000 Americans out of 105 million. Britain lost 228,000. Natives in North America were hit particularly hard, and in some remote northern villages, 60-80 % of the natives died. Influenza may have killed more natives than even Small Pox.

Here's the wiki link.    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1918_flu_pandemic

An interesting thing about the polio virus, it was a disease of the upper class. Poor people tended to get it as babies, when it causes a much milder form of the illness. But with better sanitation and living conditions, people in the upper classes tended to get it as older children and adults.
« Last Edit: 21/09/2013 02:46:57 by cheryl j »
 

Offline RD

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Offline Szostak

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Thanks to CliffordK, distimpson, cheryl j and RD. I did really appreciate your answers, specially CliffordK's post, as i felt like reading a book.

@CliffordK i really enjoyed the distinction between bacteriophages and viriophages (the term viriophage was a bit confusing, if no further reading). It's pretty interesting that we can use viruses along with nanotecnology, i went to a lecture, which showed a whole spectre about nanotecnology applied to Medical Sciences.  Herpesviral encephalitis is a good shot to present, specially with those sweet pictures i found of bleeding brains. The background on Polio is cool.

@distimpson Viral hemorrhagic fever sounds huge, the symptons are fantastic. I'm not very interested in Dengue (i'm from Brazil, so it's still very common in here), I might talk about Ebola and Lassa (Had no idea about Lassa, thanks for sharing), taking in question the historical concepts of the epidemy.

@cheryl j A-hoy, Ye, today's flu doesn't sound interesting, but taking in account that it was once (within a century) a pandemy, it grows in my concept of how wonderful it acts in our bodies.  That was some nice observation about the Polio, showing that even with an improved sanitation (but not as much as the upper class) the lower class would avoid a worse form of the ilness, and the upperclass would acquire it as older children and adults, as happened to Roosevelt.

@RD Hello there! I've read something similar, isn't it wonderful? Sound's like science fiction, which i don't like much, but show's that there's hope for us to better understand neurological processes, such as mind control.

I found this too, Seems like Arena viruses are known to cause hemorrage. This one in particular, causes hemorrage, shock, seizures,
 fever, eye redness, fatigue, dizziness, muscle aches,  loss of strenght and exhaustion, also internal (dermal and also organs) bleedings or from external like mouth, eye and ears, sometimes shocks, seizures, neurological malfuction coma and delirium. JUST WOW! And the city, where the few cases were reported are so close to where i live, it's like 50minutes from where i live! (btw, the virologist who took care of the pacient also got inffected, and another researcher, which his centrifuge bottle cracked, got infected in some sort of aerosol transmission.)
  newbielink:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sabia_virus [nonactive]

I hope that with your help and if my Alzheimer's  co-op, i'mma get an  A, or at least impress my classmates, and teacher.

Suggestions and further discussions are welcome!
« Last Edit: 21/09/2013 09:23:57 by Szostak »
 

Offline RD

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... Viral hemorrhagic fever sounds huge, the symptons are fantastic.

The haemorrhages are process for the virus to increase its spread.

[NB: no teleology just evolution ]
« Last Edit: 21/09/2013 14:06:49 by RD »
 

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