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Introduction to Week 5

Air is one of the most efficient known mechanisms of transmission and hardest to control. Isabel Simarro introduces the content of this week.

Air is one of the most efficient known mechanisms of transmission and hardest to control.

Think about some of the recent films of alleged viral infections, in which viruses are disseminated by air. Air can spread viral particles along long distances, so the control of these diseases is mainly based on the use of vaccines.

This week we will focus on one of the viral diseases that produced many human deaths in the 20th century: flu.

As usual, we will first get to know the virus and its genome. Influenza viruses experience small changes constantly, which means that antibodies against one virus are not completely protective against reinfection. Another important aspect is that it is a zoonosis, so flu viruses from other animal species, mainly pork and poultry, can infect people. In addition, if the same cell is infected by two different viruses, the new flu viruses that are generated can be as a mosaic, with genomic segments of both parental viruses.

By the end of the week you will understand the mechanisms of variability, which animals may pose a problem because their viruses have zoonotic potential, and which are the international regulations for their control.

Have your say

Have you ever suffered the flu? Tell the other learners the symptomatology you experienced.

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Animal Viruses: Their Transmission and the Diseases They Produce

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FutureLearn - Learning For Life

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