Glossary of Medical Terms

Our online medical glossary of medical terms and definitions includes definitions for terms related to treatment, and general medicine


In epidemiology, a class of viruses that have long infected humans or animals but now have the opportunity to achieve epidemic proportions due to human encroachment on tropical rainforests, heighten international travel, burgeoning populations in smaller developed countries, and, possibly, global warming. About two dozen viruses have been termed emergent, including haemorrhagic viruses such as Ebola, Marburg, and Hantaan; the rabies-like viruses Mokola and Duvenhage; rodent-borne Jinin and Lassa virus; and mosquito-borne dengue. Virologists speculate that the strain of HIV that causes AIDS may also fall into this category, having entered humans through contact with monkeys in central Africa, possibly having existed among monkey populations for some 50,000 years.
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