Humans and other animals are always vulnerable to attack by germs, viruses, bacteria, or other infectious entities. These different germs cause diseases in humans and animals. Different germs produce different kinds of symptoms and different diseases. Different people may ask, “What Is a Viral Infection?” and the answer to this question is given below.
What Is a Viral Infection?
Most people don’t know about What Is a Viral Infection. When we are talking about infection, we should know that infection is the entry of germs, bacteria, or viruses into the body. Mostly, people mix the concept of infection with the disease. Disease and infection are two different things. Infection is only the entry of virus or bacteria in the body even though it has produced disease or not. When a germ produces disease, it does this after infection. Hence, when your body gets some germ or virus, it means you have got some infection. During infection, you may or may not have disease symptoms.
What Is A Virus?
Before discussing the concept of viral infection, we should know about the virus. Most people don’t know the exact definition and concept of a virus. They may consider it a living organism, but this isn’t a living entity. In this section, we will make a detailed discussion to make this concept clear. Viruses are infectious particles that consist of a genome (either DNA or RNA) and protein coat.
Different viruses may contain different genomes, and based on this fact; they may be either DNA viruses or RNA viruses. They contain a protein coat that is made of subunits called capsomeres. These capsomeres are the characteristic property of a virus. It means different types of viruses have a different number of capsomeres. Some viruses may also contain extra envelopes surrounding their protein coat, and based on this; they may be enveloped or non-enveloped viruses.
Viruses can’t reproduce themselves; instead, they need biosynthetic machinery of living cells for their reproduction. The whole virus doesn’t enter the living cell. The only genome of the virus enters the cell leaving behind the protein coat and envelopes. Hence, viruses can’t live without living cells. Therefore, they are obligate intracellular parasites. One of the famous thoughts about viruses is that they are disease-causing entities, but this isn’t always true. They cause diseases, but many viruses are performing positive functions. Some specific viruses may protect the host from other infections. They also contribute to the process of gene transformation that helps in the evolution.
When we discuss What Is a Viral Infection, we should know that it is the entry of a virus into the body. There are many infectious viruses such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), common cold virus, chickenpox virus, influenza virus, SARS-Cov-2, and many others. Viruses may infect various parts of the body.
They may infect respiratory, reproductive, and gastrointestinal systems. They can also infect the brain, liver, and skin. Different types of cancers are also caused by these viruses. When a virus proliferates in the body, it is known as a viral infection. As we have mentioned earlier that viruses can’t reproduce without the assistance of the biosynthetic machinery of host cells.
They insert their genetic material into the host cells that hijacks the internal biosynthetic machinery of living cells for its reproduction. In this way, they produce many copies of the viral genome.
When many copies of the viral genome are formed, the living cell bursts and all the viruses spread in the surrounding areas. They affect other cells nearby, and in this way, they spread the disease in different parts of the body. Viral infections are contagious and may transmit from one person to another.
Different viruses are contagious for different periods. Viruses may transmit from one person to another in a variety of ways. They may spread through saliva, air, or touch. Many kinds of viruses may transmit through contaminated needles or other surgical equipment and sexual contact. Some insects such as mosquitoes and ticks are known as vectors because they can transmit viruses. Contaminated foods and water may also become the reason for viral transmission.
What Is a Viral Infection Types Of Viral Infections And Symptoms
Respiratory Viral Infections
Most people don’t understand What Is a Viral Infection? They should know that many respiratory infections are known, and they affect the nose, lungs, and throat. Mostly these infections spread when infected individuals inhale in the air. Air spreads these viruses. Following are some of the respiratory infections.
This is a common virus that is the cause of the common cold. There are 200+ types of viruses that cause the common cold. The symptoms of a common cold include coughing, sneezing, mild fever, headache, and sore throat. They may last for two weeks or more.
This is a famous infection that affects 5-20 % population of the US every year. More than 200000 people may suffer annually from this seasonal influenza, and they are hospitalized in America. The symptoms of flu include severe fatigue and body aches.
SARS Cov-2 is a respiratory virus that is the cause of the spread of coronavirus or Covid-19 infection. It caused a global pandemic in 2020. It originated from Wuhan, China. It led to the shutting down of businesses, closure of schools or educational institutes, and other public activities in the whole world. It affected millions of people and killed more than 2.5 million people in the world. It is still affecting a lot of people and killing them. Its symptoms include pneumonia, fever, shortness of breath, and cough.
Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV
This is a particular respiratory viral infection that may cause upper respiratory infections such as colds and lower respiratory infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia. This disease can affect severely to children, adults of higher ages, and infants.
Skin Viral Infections
There are innumerable viral skin infections. They may be mild to moderate and sometimes include rashes. Following are some of the skin infections.
This is a specific disease that produces small and flesh-colored bumps in children of ages 1-10 years. People of other ages may also get this disease. These bumps may disappear in 6-12 months, even without treatment.
Herpes Simplex Virus-1 (HSV-1)
This is a common virus that may produce cold sores. This is transmitted through saliva while sharing drinks or food and kissing the infected person. Sometimes, HSV-1 may cause genital herpes. According to an estimated fact, almost 85 % of Americans do have HSV-1 by the time they are in their 60s.
Varicella-Zoster Virus (VZV)
This disorder causes oozing, itchy blisters, high fever, and fatigue. The chickenpox vaccine is 98 percent effective for treating or avoiding this disease.
Viruses cause many other diseases. Following are some of the miscellaneous diseases caused by viruses.
This virus infects the liver of humans and affects it for few weeks or several months. Its symptoms include nausea, vomiting, yellow skin, and diarrhea. According to reports, about 15% of the affected individuals may regain this illness within the next 6 months.
This virus is responsible for various severe gastrointestinal disorders that happened on cruise ships. It also causes this disease in many other locations and areas. Every year, about 20 million people in the USA get this disease.
This is a severe virus that may cause watery diarrhea in humans. This diarrhea may lead to dehydration. All individuals are susceptible to get this disorder, but babies and young children are more vulnerable.
Human papillomavirus (HPV)
This is one of the common sexually transmitted diseases in the USA. Many different types of this disease are known. They may cause genital warts and sometimes lead to cervical cancer. Vaccination may help to prevent this disease.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
This is a specific type of virus that infects T cells of the human immune system. With the progression of this disease, the ability of an individual to fight infections and diseases decreases. This virus ultimately leads to the acquired immunodeficiency virus (AIDS). This disease may transmit through contact with bodily fluids and sexual contact.
What Is A Viral Infection Treatment Of Different Viral Infections
Many viral infections don’t need any treatment, and patients recover automatically. Except this, many treatments of viral infections help to get relief from the disease symptoms. No treatment is available to fight viral infections. For example, there are medicines for a cold that help to alleviate the congestion and pain due to the common cold. It has no influence on the virus causing the common cold.
Some medicines are available that affect viruses directly. They inhibit the growth and progression of viruses by influencing their genome. These are known as antiviral medicines. Different antiviral medications work differently. Chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and surgical treatments are options when the disease has spread in the whole body. The best treatment is to take precautions to avoid viral infections.
We have discussed different kinds of viral infections and their symptoms. We have also understood the concepts of viral transmission and reproduction. Now the question “What Is a Viral Infection?” has been answered rightly. You must know that the best treatment to avoid viral infections is to take precautions. Mostly viral infections lead to death.