Glossary of the COVID-19 pandemic

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The glossary of the COVID-19 pandemic is a list of definitions of terms relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has created and popularized many terms relating to disease and videoconferencing.

Contents

A

Asymptomatic transmission
The spread of a contagious illness by thoses without or before symptoms.

C

ComirNaty
The commercial name for the FDA approved COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer, released August 21, 2021. It also has several other names or designators used on the actual vials.
Community transmission
The spread of a contagious disease to an individual with no known contact with other infected populations.
Contact tracing
The process of identification of persons who may have come into contact with an infected person.
Covidiot
A person who ignores safety guidelines, potentially spreading COVID-19.
Cytokine Storm
A term used to describe an excessive immune response resulting in multiple organ failure.

D

Doomscrolling
Endlessly scrolling through bad news, to the detriment of the reader's mental health.

F

Flattening the curve
Also called "plank the curve" is public health strategy to slow down the spread of a virus involving voluntary and involuntary restrictions on social interactions.
Fomite
An object or surface that may contain an infectious virus or bacteria that can be a means of transmission.

H

Herd immunity
A term to describe when a high percentage of a defined population is immune to a disease because of vaccination or prior exposure to a disease.
Heterologous vaccination
Combining different brands or types of vaccines, instead of getting multiple doses of the same vaccine. This may be done for practical reasons such as a vaccine shortage or in the hope of a better response.
Host cell
A cell in the body that becomes invaded by a virus and then acts as a host to produce more virus particles.

I

Incubation period
The time it takes for an individual who is infected with a disease to start showing symptoms.

L

Long-hauler
A term used to describe individuals who contracted COVID-19 and exhibit symptoms for an extended period of time compared to the majority of the recovered population.

N

Nasopharyngeal swab
A swab with a soft tip used for collecting nostril respiratory mucosa samples from the back of the nose.

O

Oropharyngeal swab
A swab with a soft tip used for collecting nostril respiratory mucosa samples from the back of the throat.

P

PCR test
An acronym for a "polymerase chain reaction test" that determines if a simple contains genetic material from a virus.

Q

Quarantini
Virtual happy hour.

R

R0
Pronounced "R-naught" or "R-zero"; a measurement used to describe the intensity of an outbreak.

S

Serology test
Also called an "antibody test" is used to determine if an individual had been infected with a virus in the past by testing for antibodies in the bloodstream.
Seroprevalence
The number of people in which antibodies to a disease have been detected in a specific population.
Social distancing
Also called "physical distancing" is the practice of keeping a certain distance from other people, in order to stop a disease from spreading.
Superspreader
Or "superspreading event" is a person or event that infects a large number of people with a contagious disease.

V

Viral load
Also called "viral dose" refers to the amount of a virus an individual has been exposed to.

Z

Zoonotic
A term used to describe a disease originating in animals that has mutated to infect humans.
Zoom
A brand videoconferencing software.
Zoombombing
Unwanted members joining a Zoom call.

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Vaccine Pathogen-derived preparation that provides acquired immunity to an infectious disease

A vaccine is a biological preparation that provides active acquired immunity to a particular infectious disease. A vaccine typically contains an agent that resembles a disease-causing microorganism and is often made from weakened or killed forms of the microbe, its toxins, or one of its surface proteins. The agent stimulates the body's immune system to recognize the agent as a threat, destroy it, and to further recognize and destroy any of the microorganisms associated with that agent that it may encounter in the future. Vaccines can be prophylactic, or therapeutic. Some vaccines offer full sterilizing immunity, in which infection is prevented completely.

Infection Invasion of an organisms body tissues by disease-causing agents

An infection is the invasion of an organism's body tissues by disease-causing agents, their multiplication, and the reaction of host tissues to the infectious agents and the toxins they produce. An infectious disease, also known as a transmissible disease or communicable disease, is an illness resulting from an infection.

Cowpox Human and animal disease

Cowpox is an infectious disease caused by the cowpox virus. The virus, part of the genus Orthopoxvirus, is closely related to the vaccinia virus. The virus is zoonotic, meaning that it is transferable between species, such as from cat to human. The transferral of the disease was first observed in dairymaids who touched the udders of infected cows and consequently developed the signature pustules on their hands. Cowpox is more commonly found in animals other than bovines, such as rodents. Cowpox is similar to, but much milder than, the highly contagious and often deadly smallpox disease. Its close resemblance to the mild form of smallpox and the observation that dairy farmers were immune to smallpox inspired the modern smallpox vaccine, created and administered by English physician Edward Jenner.

Measles Viral disease affecting humans

Measles is a highly contagious infectious disease caused by measles virus. Symptoms usually develop 10–12 days after exposure to an infected person and last 7–10 days. Initial symptoms typically include fever, often greater than 40 °C (104 °F), cough, runny nose, and inflamed eyes. Small white spots known as Koplik's spots may form inside the mouth two or three days after the start of symptoms. A red, flat rash which usually starts on the face and then spreads to the rest of the body typically begins three to five days after the start of symptoms. Common complications include diarrhea, middle ear infection (7%), and pneumonia (6%). These occur in part due to measles-induced immunosuppression. Less commonly seizures, blindness, or inflammation of the brain may occur. Other names include morbilli, rubeola, red measles, and English measles. Both rubella, also known as German measles, and roseola are different diseases caused by unrelated viruses.

Mumps Human disease caused by paramyxovirus

Mumps is a viral disease caused by the mumps virus. Initial symptoms are non-specific and include fever, headache, malaise, muscle pain, and loss of appetite. These symptoms are usually followed by painful swelling of the parotid glands, called parotitis, which is the most common symptom of infection. Symptoms typically occur 16 to 18 days after exposure to the virus and resolve within two weeks. About one third of infections are asymptomatic.

Herd immunity Concept in epidemiology

Herd immunity is a form of indirect protection from infectious disease that can occur with some diseases when a sufficient percentage of a population has become immune to an infection, whether through vaccination or previous infections, thereby reducing the likelihood of infection for individuals who lack immunity. Immune individuals are unlikely to contribute to disease transmission, disrupting chains of infection, which stops or slows the spread of disease. The greater the proportion of immune individuals in a community, the smaller the probability that non-immune individuals will come into contact with an infectious individual.

Rubella Human viral disease

Rubella, also known as German measles or three-day measles, is an infection caused by the rubella virus. This disease is often mild with half of people not realizing that they are infected. A rash may start around two weeks after exposure and last for three days. It usually starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body. The rash is sometimes itchy and is not as bright as that of measles. Swollen lymph nodes are common and may last a few weeks. A fever, sore throat, and fatigue may also occur. Joint pain is common in adults. Complications may include bleeding problems, testicular swelling, encephalitis, and inflammation of nerves. Infection during early pregnancy may result in a miscarriage or a child born with congenital rubella syndrome (CRS). Symptoms of CRS manifest as problems with the eyes such as cataracts, deafness, as well as affecting the heart and brain. Problems are rare after the 20th week of pregnancy.

Monkeypox Infectious disease caused by the monkeypox virus that can occur in certain animals including humans

Monkeypox is an infectious disease caused by the monkeypox virus that can occur in certain animals including humans. Symptoms begin with fever, headache, muscle pains, swollen lymph nodes, and feeling tired. This is followed by a rash that forms blisters and crusts over. The time from exposure to onset of symptoms is around 10 days. The duration of symptoms is typically 2 to 5 weeks.

Respiratory syncytial virus Species of virus

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), also called human respiratory syncytial virus (hRSV) and human orthopneumovirus, is a very common, contagious virus that causes infections of the respiratory tract. It is a negative-sense, single-stranded RNA virus, and its name is derived from the large cells known as syncytia that form when infected cells fuse together.

Swine influenza Infection caused by influenza viruses endemic to pigs

Swine influenza is an infection caused by any one of several types of swine influenza viruses. Swine influenza virus (SIV) or swine-origin influenza virus (S-OIV) is any strain of the influenza family of viruses that is endemic in pigs. As of 2009, the known SIV strains include influenza C and the subtypes of influenza A known as H1N1, H1N2, H2N1, H3N1, H3N2, and H2N3.

Marek's disease is a highly contagious viral neoplastic disease in chickens. It is named after József Marek, a Hungarian veterinarian who described it in 1907. Marek's disease is caused by an alphaherpesvirus known as "Marek's disease virus" (MDV) or Gallid alphaherpesvirus 2 (GaHV-2). The disease is characterized by the presence of T cell lymphoma as well as infiltration of nerves and organs by lymphocytes. Viruses related to MDV appear to be benign and can be used as vaccine strains to prevent Marek's disease. For example, the related herpesvirus found in turkeys (HVT), causes no apparent disease in the birds, and continues to be used as a vaccine strain for prevention of Marek's disease.

Childhood immunizations in the United States

The schedule for childhood immunizations in the United States is published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The vaccination schedule is broken down by age: birth to six years of age, seven to eighteen, and adults nineteen and older. Childhood immunizations are key in preventing diseases with epidemic potential.

Bovine alphaherpesvirus 1 (BoHV-1) is a virus of the family Herpesviridae and the subfamily Alphaherpesvirinae, known to cause several diseases worldwide in cattle, including rhinotracheitis, vaginitis, balanoposthitis, abortion, conjunctivitis, and enteritis. BoHV-1 is also a contributing factor in shipping fever, also known as bovine respiratory disease (BRD). It is spread horizontally through sexual contact, artificial insemination, and aerosol transmission and it may also be transmitted vertically across the placenta. BoHV-1 can cause both clinical and subclinical infections, depending on the virulence of the strain. Although these symptoms are mainly non-life-threatening it is an economically important disease as infection may cause a drop in production and affect trade restrictions. Like other herpesviruses, BoHV-1 causes a lifelong latent infection and sporadic shedding of the virus. The sciatic nerve and trigeminal nerve are the sites of latency. A reactivated latent carrier is normally the source of infection in a herd. The clinical signs displayed are dependent on the virulence of the strain. There is a vaccine available which reduces the severity and incidence of disease. Some countries in Europe have successfully eradicated the disease by applying a strict culling policy.

Sheeppox Infectious disease of sheep caused by the sheeppox virus

Sheeppox is a highly contagious disease of sheep caused by a poxvirus different from the benign orf. This virus is in the family Poxviridae and genus Capripoxvirus. Sheeppox virus (SPV) is the most severe of all the animal pox diseases and can result in some of the most significant economic consequences due to poor wool and leather quality.

Globalization, the flow of information, goods, capital, and people across political and geographic boundaries, allows infectious diseases to rapidly spread around the world, while also allowing the alleviation of factors such as hunger and poverty, which are key determinants of global health. The spread of diseases across wide geographic scales has increased through history. Early diseases that spread from Asia to Europe were bubonic plague, influenza of various types, and similar infectious diseases.

Chickenpox Human viral disease

Chickenpox, also known as varicella, is a highly contagious disease caused by the initial infection with varicella zoster virus (VZV). The disease results in a characteristic skin rash that forms small, itchy blisters, which eventually scab over. It usually starts on the chest, back, and face. It then spreads to the rest of the body. Other symptoms may include fever, tiredness, and headaches. Symptoms usually last five to seven days. Complications may occasionally include pneumonia, inflammation of the brain, and bacterial skin infections. The disease is often more severe in adults than in children. The incubation period is 10–21 days, 14–16 days after which a characteristic rash appears.

Influenza Infectious disease, "the flu"

Influenza, commonly called "the flu", is an infectious disease caused by influenza viruses. Symptoms range from mild to severe and often include fever, runny nose, sore throat, muscle pain, headache, coughing, and fatigue. These symptoms typically begin 1–4 days after exposure to the virus and last for about 2–8 days. Diarrhea and vomiting can occur, particularly in children. Influenza may progress to pneumonia, which can be caused by the virus or by a subsequent bacterial infection. Other complications of infection include acute respiratory distress syndrome, meningitis, encephalitis, and worsening of pre-existing health problems such as asthma and cardiovascular disease.

Vaccine-induced viral shedding is ordinary viral shedding with the distinction being that it followed administration of an attenuated vaccine, which is a specific vaccine technology that uses an attenuated form of a live virus. The overwhelming majority of vaccines, however, are not attenuated vaccines, and therefore cannot cause vaccine-induced viral shedding.

COVID-19 Contagious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a contagious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The first known case was identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. The disease has since spread worldwide, leading to an ongoing pandemic.

An immunity passport or vaccine passport, also known as a vaccination IDrecovery certificate, immunity certificate, recovery certificate, health pass or release certificate, is a document, in both paper and digital format, attesting that its bearer is immune to a contagious disease. Similar to quarantine, public certification is an action that governments can take to mitigate an epidemic.