Biological Warfare Glossary of Terms

The following are health and medical definitions of terms that appear in the Biological Warfare article.

Abdominal: Relating to the abdomen, the belly, that part of the body that contains all of ...

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Abdominal pain: Pain in the belly. Abdominal pain can be acute or chronic. It may reflect ...

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Activated charcoal: Charcoal that has been heated to increase its ability to absorb molecu...

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Acute: Of abrupt onset, in reference to a disease. Acute often also connotes an illness th...

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Aerosol: A fine spray or mist. Medications in aerosol form can be administered via a nebul...

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Aflatoxin: A toxin produced by mold that can damage the liver and may lead to liver cancer...

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Airway: The path that air follows to get into and out of the lungs. The mouth and nose are...

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Anthrax: A serious bacterial infection caused by Bacillus anthracis that occurs primarily ...

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Antibiotic: A drug used to treat infections caused by bacteria and other microorganisms. ...

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Antibody: An immunoglobulin, a specialized immune protein, produced because of the introdu...

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Antitoxin: An antibody capable of destroying microorganisms including viruses and bacteri...

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Antiviral: An agent that kills a virus or that suppresses its ability to replicate and, he...

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Antiviral agent: A medication or another agent that kills viruses or inhibits their capabi...

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Arenaviridae: See: Arenavirus.

Arenavirus: One of a family of viruses called Arenaviridae whose members are generally ass...

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Arms: An appendage in anatomy and in clinical trials. See: Arm.

Aspirin: Once the Bayer trademark for acetylsalicylic acid, now the common name for this a...

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Assay: An assay is an analysis done to determine:

  1. The presence of a substance an...

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Bacillus: A large family of bacteria that are rod-like in shape. They include the bacteria...

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Bacillus anthracis: The bacterium that causes anthrax. Anthrax differs from most bacteria ...

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Back pain: Pain felt in the low or upper back. Causes of pain in the low and upper back in...

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Bacteria: Single-celled microorganisms that can exist either as independent (free-living) ...

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Bacterium: The singular of bacteria.

Biochemical: Relating to biochemistry, the application of the tools and concepts of chemis...

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Biopsy: The removal of a sample of tissue for examination under a microscope to check for ...

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Bioterrorism: Terrorism using biologic agents that are harmful to humans. Biological disea...

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Blast: An immature blood cell.

Blood culture: A test designed to detect if microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi are ...

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Blood pressure: The blood pressure is the pressure of the blood within the arteries. It is...

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Bloody nose: Bleeding from the blood vessels of the nose. The nose is rich in blood vessel...

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Blurred vision: Lack of sharpness of vision with, as a result, the inability to see fine d...

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Bone marrow: The soft blood-forming tissue that fills the cavities of bones and contains f...

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Botulinum toxin: A toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum that is th...

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Bowel: The small and large intestine.

Brain: The portion of the central nervous system that is located within the skull. It func...

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Brain swelling: See: Cerebral edema.

Breathing: The process of respiration, during which air is inhaled into the lungs through ...

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Brucellosis: An infectious disease characterized by rising and lowering (undulant) fever, ...

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Buboes: The plural of "bubo".

Bubonic plague: An infectious disease that is caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis and ...

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Cardiovascular: Relating to the circulatory system, which comprises the heart and blood ve...

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CDC: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the US agency charged with tracking a...

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: The US agency charged with tracking and invest...

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Chest: The area of the body located between the neck and the abdomen. The chest contains t...

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Chest pain: Pain in the chest that can be a result of many things, including angina, heart...

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Chest X-ray: A type of X-ray commonly used to detect abnormalities in the lungs. A chest X...

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Chickenpox: A highly infectious viral disease also known medically as varicella -- in many...

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Chills: feelings of coldness accompanied by shivering. Chills may develop after exposure t...

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Cholera: An infectious disease characterized by intense vomiting and profuse watery diarrh...

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Chronic: In medicine, lasting a long time. A chronic condition is one that lasts 3 months ...

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Circulation: In medicine, the movement of fluid through the body in a regular or circuitou...

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Coma: A state of deep, unarousable unconsciousness. A coma may occur as a result of head t...

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Complication: In medicine, an unanticipated problem that arises following, and is a result...

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Congestion: An abnormal or excessive accumulation of a body fluid. The term is used broadl...

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Contact dermatitis: A skin condition caused by contact between skin and some substance. In...

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Contrast: Short for "contrast media." Contrast media are X-ray dyes used to provide contra...

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Cough: A rapid expulsion of air from the lungs, typically in order to clear the lung airwa...

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Cowpox: A mild skin disease of milk cows, principally confined to the udder and teats, tha...

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Cripple: 1. A person who is lame or disabled. The word "cripple" is a medically ou...

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CT scan: Computerized tomography scan. Pictures of structures within the body created by a...

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Cutaneous: Related to the skin.

Cuts: Severed skin. Washing a cut or scrape with soap and water and keeping it clean and d...

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Deafness: Partial or complete hearing loss. Levels of hearing impairment vary from a mild ...

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Delirium: A sudden state of severe confusion and rapid changes in brain function, sometime...

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Dementia: Significant loss of intellectual abilities, such as memory capacity, that is sev...

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Dengue: Also known as Dengue fever, an acute mosquito-borne viral illness of sudden onset ...

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Dengue fever: An acute mosquito-borne viral illness of sudden onset with headache, fever, ...

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Depression: An illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts and that affects the way...

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Dermatitis: Inflammation of the skin, either due to direct contact with an irritating sub...

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Diagnosis: 1 The nature of a disease; the identification of an illness. 2 A ...

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Diarrhea: A common condition that involves unusually frequent and liquid bowel movements. ...

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Dizziness: Painless head discomfort with many possible causes including disturbances of ...

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Doxycycline: Brand name: Vibramycin. A synthetic broad-spectrum antibiotic derived from te...

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Eastern equine encephalitis: Abbreviated EEE. A mosquito-born viral disease. The EEE virus...

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Ebola virus: A notoriously deadly virus that causes fearsome symptoms, the most prominent...

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Eczema: A particular type of inflammatory reaction of the skin in which there are typicall...

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Edema: The swelling of soft tissues as a result of excess fluid accumulation. Edema is oft...

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ELISA: Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, a rapid immunochemical test that involves an enz...

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Emergency department: The department of a hospital responsible for the provision of medica...

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Encephalitis: Inflammation of the brain, which may be caused by a bacterium, a virus, or a...

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Endocarditis: an inflammation of one or more of the heart valves and lining tissues of the...

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Epidemic: The occurrence of more cases of a disease than would be expected in a community...

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Erythromycin: Erythromycin is a common antibiotic for treating bacterial infection. Sold...

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Fatigue: A condition characterized by a lessened capacity for work and reduced efficiency ...

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Feces: The excrement discharged from the 'intestines.

Fever: Although a fever technically is any body temperature above the normal of 98.6 degr...

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Filoviridae: A family of viruses that cause hemorrhagic fever. Filoviruses have single- ...

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Flaviviridae: A family of viruses transmitted by mosquitos and ticks that cause some impor...

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Flavivirus: One of a family of viruses transmitted by mosquitos and ticks that cause some ...

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Food poisoning: A common flu-like illness typically characterized by nausea, vomiting and...

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Fungal: Pertaining to a fungus. For example, a fungal skin infection.

Fungi: Plural of fungus.

Fungus: A single-celled or multicellular organism. Fungi can be true pathogens (such as hi...

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Gastric: Having to do with the stomach.

Gastrointestinal: Adjective referring collectively to the stomach and small and large inte...

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Genital: Pertaining to the external and/or internal organs of reproduction.

GI tract: Short for gastrointestinal tract. See: Gastrointestinal tract.

Gland: A group of cells that secrete a substance for use in the body. For example, the thy...

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Glanders: A bacterial infection that causes a chronic debilitating disease of equids (hors...

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Hantavirus: A group of viruses that cause hemorrhagic fever and pneumonia. The hantaviruse...

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Headache: A pain in the head with the pain being above the eyes or the ears, behind the he...

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Heart: The muscle that pumps blood received from veins into arteries throughout the body. ...

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Hemorrhagic: Pertaining to bleeding or the abnormal flow of blood.

HEPA: Acronym that stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air and for High-Efficiency Part...

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Hepatitis: Inflammation of the liver, irrespective of the cause. Hepatitis is caused by a ...

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HIV: Acronym for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, the cause of AIDS (acquired immunodefi...

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Immune: Protected against infection, usually by the presence of antibodies.

Immunity: The condition of being immune. Immunity can be innate'for example, humans are in...

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Immunization: Vaccination. Immunizations work by stimulating the immune system, the natur...

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Immunocompromised: Having an immune system that has been impaired by disease or medical tr...

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Immunotherapy: Treatment to stimulate or restore the ability of the immune (defense) syst...

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Incubation period: In medicine, the time from the moment of exposure to an infectious agen...

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Indicate: In medicine, to make a treatment or procedure advisable because of a particular ...

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Infection: The invasion and multiplication of microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, an...

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Inflammation: A localized reaction that produces redness, warmth, swelling, and pain as a ...

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Injure: To harm, hurt, or wound. The word injure may be in physical or emotional sense. Fr...

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Injury: Harm or hurt. To harm, hurt, or wound. The word injure may be in physical or emot...

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Internal bleeding: Bleeding inside the body that is not seen from the outside. Internal bl...

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Itching: An uncomfortable sensation in the skin that feels as if something is crawling on ...

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Joint: The area where two bones are attached for the purpose of permitting body parts to m...

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Kidney: One of a pair of organs located in the right and left side of the abdomen. The kid...

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Laboratory: A place for doing tests and research procedures, and for preparing chemicals a...

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Lassa fever: An acute viral infection found in the tropics, especially in West Africa. Las...

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Lavage: Washing out. Gastric lavage, for example, is the washing out of the stomach to rem...

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Leg: In popular usage, the part of the body from the top of the thigh down to the foot, an...

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Lesion: An area of abnormal tissue change. Lesions vary in severity from harmless to serio...

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Lethal: Deadly.

Lethargy: Abnormal drowsiness, stupor.

Limb: An arm or a leg.

Liver: The largest solid organ in the body, situated in the upper part of the abdomen on t...

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Liver disease: Liver disease refers to any disorder of the liver. The liver is a large org...

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Low back pain: Pain in the lower back area that can relate to problems with the lumbar spi...

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Low blood pressure: Any blood pressure that is below the normal expected for an individua...

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Lungs: The lungs are a pair of breathing organs located with the chest which remove carbon...

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Lymph: The almost colorless fluid that travels through the lymphatic system, carrying cell...

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Lymph gland: See Lymph node.

Marrow: The bone marrow.

Membrane: A very thin layer of tissue that covers a 'surface.

Meningitis: Inflammation of the meninges, the three membranes that envelop the brain and t...

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Microscope: An optical instrument that augments the power of the eye to see small objects....

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Miscarriage: Inadvertent loss of a pregnancy before the fetus is viable. A considerable pr...

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Monkeypox: A rare zoonotic (animal-borne) viral disease similar to smallpox. The virus res...

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Mouth: 1. The upper opening of the digestive tract, beginning with the lips and con...

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Mucous: Pertaining to mucus, a thick fluid produced by the lining of some tissues of the b...

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Muscle: Muscle is the tissue of the body which primarily functions as a source of power. T...

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Muscular: Having to do with the muscles. Also, endowed with above average muscle developme...

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Mycotoxin: A toxin produced by a fungus. A mycotoxin may be formed when grains or some oth...

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Nasal: Having to do with the nose.

Nausea: Stomach queasiness, the urge to vomit. Nausea can be brought on by many causes, in...

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Neck: The part of the body joining the head to the shoulders. Also, any narrow or constric...

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Nose: The external midline projection from the face. The purpose of the nose is to warm, c...

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Onset: In medicine, the first appearance of the signs or symptoms of an illness as, for ex...

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Operation: In medicine, a surgical procedure. Many operations are named after persons. The...

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Organ: A relatively independent part of the body that carries out one or more special func...

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Organic: 1. A chemical compound that contains carbon.
2. Related to a...

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Oxygenation: The addition of oxygen to any system, including the human body. Oxygenation m...

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Pain: An unpleasant sensation that can range from mild, localized discomfort to agony. Pa...

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Paralysis: Loss of voluntary movement (motor function). Paralysis that affects only one mu...

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Penicillin: The most famous of all antibiotics, named for the fungal mold Penicillium n...

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Pericardial: Referring to the pericardium, the sac of fibrous tissue that surrounds the he...

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Pestis: The plague. An infectious disease due to a bacteria called Yersinia pestis.

Pharmacy: A location where prescription medications are sold. A pharmacy is constantly sup...

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Pimple: An inflamed area of the skin with pus formation that results from an oil gland bei...

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Plague: The plague is an infectious disease due to a bacteria called Yersinia pestis.

Pleural: Pertaining to the pleura, the thin covering that protects the lungs. The term "pl...

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Pneumonia: Inflammation of one or both lungs, with dense areas of lung inflammation. Pneum...

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Pneumonic plague: Infection of the lungs by Yersina pestis, the bacterial agent that cause...

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Poison: Any substance that can cause severe organ damage or death if ingested, breathed in...

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Poisoning: Taking a substance that is injurious to health or can cause death. Poisoning i...

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Potassium: The major positive ion (cation) found inside cells. The chemical notation for p...

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Pregnant: The state of carrying a developing fetus within the body.

Prophylaxis: The prevention of disease.

Protein: One of the three nutrients used as energy sources (calories) by the body. Protein...

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Proteins: Large molecules composed of one or more chains of amino acids in a specific orde...

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Public health: The approach to medicine that is concerned with the health of the community...

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Q fever: An infectious disease due to the bacterium Coxiella burnetii whose symptoms inclu...

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Rash: Breaking out (eruption) of the skin. A rash can be caused by an underlying medical c...

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Recur: To occur again; to return. For example, a symptom, sign, or disease can recur.

Relapse: The return of signs and symptoms of a disease after a remission.

Respiratory: Having to do with respiration.

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Respiratory failure: Inability of the lungs to perform their basic task of gas exchange, t...

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Ricin: A potent protein toxin made from the waste left over from processing castor beans. ...

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Rift Valley fever: A viral disease that is acute, causes fever in domestic animals (such a...

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RNA: Ribonucleic acid.

Saline: Relating to salt. As an adjective, "saline" means "salty, containing salt." As a n...

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Saliva: a watery secretion in the mouth produced by the salivary glands that aids in the d...

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Salmonella: A group of bacteria that cause typhoid fever and a number of other illnesses...

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Scan: As a noun, the data or image obtained from the examination of organs or regions of...

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Sedative: A drug that calms a patient, easing agitation and permitting sleep. Sedatives ge...

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Sensitivity: 1. In psychology, the quality of being sensitive. As, for example, sen...

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Septicemia: Systemic (bodywide) illness with toxicity due to invasion of the bloodstream b...

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Serum: The clear liquid that can be separated from clotted blood. Serum differs from plas...

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Shock: In medicine, a critical condition that is brought on by a sudden drop in blood flow...

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Shortness of breath: Difficulty in breathing. Medically referred to as dyspnea. Shortness ...

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Skin color: The color of skin which is complexly determined. Skin color depends on many fa...

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Smallpox: A highly contagious and frequently fatal viral disease that is characterized by ...

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Smallpox vaccine: A vaccine that contains a live virus called vaccinia that is used to pre...

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Sodium: The major positive ion (cation) in the fluid surrounding cells in the body. The ch...

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Sore: 1. (adjective) A popular term for painful, such as a sore throat. 2. (...

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Sore throat: Pain in the throat. Sore throat may be caused by many different causes, inclu...

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Spinal tap: Also known as a lumbar puncture or "LP", a spinal tap is a procedure whereby ...

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Spleen: An organ that is located in the upper-left part of the abdomen, not far from the s...

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Sputum: Mucous material from the lungs that is produced (brought up) by coughing.

Stage: As regards cancer, the extent of a cancer, especially whether the disease has spre...

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Stomach: The digestive organ that is located in the upper abdomen, under the ribs. The upp...

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Stool: The solid matter that is discharged in a bowel movement.

Strain: 1. An injury to a tendon or muscle resulting from overuse or trauma. 2. A heredita...

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Subcutaneous: Under the skin. For example, a subcutaneous injection is an injection in whi...

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Substance: 1. Material with particular features.
2. The material that...

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Sweating: The act of secreting fluid from the skin by the sweat (sudoriferous) glands. The...

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Symptom: Any subjective evidence of disease. In contrast, a sign is objective. Blood comin...

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Synthesis: Putting together different entities to make a whole which is new and different....

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Syphilis: A sexually transmitted disease caused by Treponema pallidum, a microscopic orga...

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Systemic: Affecting the entire body. A systemic disease such as diabetes can affect the wh...

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Tetracycline: A family of broad-spectrum antibiotics effective against a remarkably wide v...

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Therapy: The treatment of disease. Therapy is synonymous with treatment.

Thigh: The thick, muscular portion of the leg that extends from the hip to the knee. The t...

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Throat: The throat is the anterior (front) portion of the neck beginning at the back of th...

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Ticks: Small wingless bloodsucking insects that, along with the mite, belongs to the order...

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Tired: A feeling of a lessened capacity for work and reduced efficiency of accomplishment,...

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Tiredness: See: Tired.

Toxicity: The degree to which a substance (a toxin or poison) can harm humans or animals. ...

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Toxicology: The study of the nature, effects, and detection of poisons (toxins) and the tr...

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Toxin: A poison produced by certain animals, plants, or bacteria.

Tuberculosis: A highly contagious infection caused by the bacterium called Mycobacterium ...

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Tularemia: A bacterial disease that is caused by infection with the bacterium Francisella ...

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Vaccination: Injection of a killed microbe in order to stimulate the immune system against...

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Vaccines: Microbial preparations of killed or modified microorganisms that can stimulate a...

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Valley fever: Lung infection with the fungus Coccidioides immitis. The fungus is common in...

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Variola: Smallpox, a highly contagious and frequently fatal viral disease characterized...

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Vector: In medicine, a carrier of disease or of medication. For example, in malaria a mosq...

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Venomous: 1. Full of venom. 2. Having venom, like some snakes and insects. ...

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Ventilator: A machine that mechanically assists a patient in the exchange of oxygen and ca...

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Vibramycin: Brand name for doxycycline.

Vibrio: A group of bacteria that includes Vibrio cholerae, the agent that causes cholera. ...

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Vibrio cholerae: One of the Vibrio bacteria, V. cholerae (as the name implies) is the a...

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Viral: Of or pertaining to a virus. For example, if a person has a viral rash, the rash wa...

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Viral hemorrhagic fever: A syndrome caused by infection with one of a number of viruses th...

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Virulent: Extremely noxious, damaging, deleterious, and disease causing (pathogenic); mark...

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Virus: A microorganism that is smaller than a bacterium that cannot grow or reproduce apar...

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Viruses: Small living particles that can infect cells and change how the cells function. I...

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Vomit: Matter from the stomach that has come up into and may be ejected beyond the mouth, ...

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Weight loss: Weight loss is a decrease in body weight resulting from either voluntary (die...

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Wheezing: A whistling noise in the chest during breathing. Wheezing occurs when the airway...

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World Health Organization: The subagency of the United Nations (UN) that is concerned with...

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X-ray: High-energy radiation with waves shorter than those of visible light. X-ray is used...

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Yellow fever: An acute systemic (bodywide) illness caused by a virus called a Flavivirus. ...

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Yersinia: A group of bacteria that appear rod-like under the microscope and include Yersin...

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Yersinia pestis: The bacteria that causes the bubonic plague which in the year 541 (as the...

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Medical Dictionary