Health / Disease Glossary
Absorption: The process of taking in. For a person or an animal, absorption is the process of a substance getting into the body through the eyes, skin, stomach, intestines, or lungs.
Acute: Occurring over a short time [compare with chronic].
Acute Disease: An acute disease is a disease with either a rapid onset or a short duration, or both. Acute is NOT synonymous with ‘severe’. cf. Chronic
Acute Exposure: Contact with a substance that occurs once or for only a short time (up to 14 days) [compare with intermediate duration exposure and chronic exposure].
Addisons Disease: A disease characterized by severe weakness, low blood pressure, and a bronzed coloration of the skin, due to decreased secretion of cortisol from the adrenal gland.
Additive Effect: A biologic response to exposure to multiple substances that equals the sum of responses of all the individual substances added together [compare with antagonistic effect and synergistic effect].
Adverse Health Effect: A change in body function or cell structure that might lead to disease or health problems
Ague: Malarial or intermittent fever characterized by paroxysms (stages of chills, fever, and sweating at regularly recurring times) and followed by an interval or intermission of varying duration . . . View Full Definition
Ague-Cake: A form of enlargement of the spleen, resulting from the action of malaria on the system.
Amplification: Adding a species to a community increases the total abundance of hosts for a pathogen, increasing the disease risk to the target host.cf dilution
Analyte: A substance measured in the laboratory. A chemical for which a sample (such as water, air, or blood) is tested in a laboratory. For example, if the analyte is mercury, the laboratory test wi . . . View Full Definition
Analytic Epidemiologic Study: A study that evaluates the association between exposure to hazardous substances and disease by testing scientific hypotheses.
Antagonistic Effect: A biologic response to exposure to multiple substances that is less than would be expected if the known effects of the individual substances were added together [compare with additive effect . . . View Full Definition
Antibiotic: A chemical substance that kills or suppresses the growth of microorganisms. Antibiotics are designed to be taken to cure disease.
Antibiotic Resistance: The ability of a microorganism to withstand the effects of an antibiotic.
Antibody: Proteins that are found in blood of vertebrates, and are used by the immune system to identify and neutralize foreign objects, such as bacteria and viruses.
Antigen: A molecule that can stimulate an immune response.
Antigen Drift: The random accumulation of mutations in viral genes recognized by the immune system. Such accumulation may significantly change the antigens of the virus, and may help it evade the immune system.
Antiviral: A chemical substance that kills or suppresses the growth of viruses. Antivirals are designed to be taken to cure or control disease.
Aquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS): An infectious disease caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Transmission occurs via one of three routes: vertical transmission, transmission via body fluids (eg sharing needles) . . . View Full Definition
Asymptomatic: Individuals who are infected by a disease but do not show any of the typical symptoms.
Attenuated: Reducing the virulence of an organism, usually a virus, whilst keeping it viable.
Background Level: An average or expected amount of a substance or radioactive material in a specific environment, or typical amounts of substances that occur naturally in an environment.
BCG: Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) is a vaccine against tuberculosis that is prepared from a strain of the attenuated (weakened) live bovine tuberculosis bacillus, Mycobacterium bovis.
Beta-Lactam Antibiotics: A broad class of antibiotics which include penicillin and its derivatives. They are the most widely used group of antibiotics available.
Word of the Day:
Malty: An aromatic sensation created by a moderately volatile set of aldehydes and ketones that produces sensations reminiscent of toasted grains.