Quarles, John M. Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas.
Arden, Nancy H. Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas.
Last reviewed:April 2018
Show previous versions
- Viral agents
- Antigenic drift and shift
- Animal influenza
- Prevention and control
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
An acute respiratory viral infection, commonly known as the flu, characterized by fever, chills, sore throat, headache, body aches, and severe cough. Influenza is an infectious disease caused by viruses in the family Orthomyxoviridae. These viruses infect mammals (including humans) and birds and can be transmitted from one type of animal to another. The various viruses that cause influenza are similar in structure, consisting of a roughly spherical protein capsid that is 80–120 nanometers (nm) in diameter, surrounded by a viral envelope (Fig. 1). In general, many viruses (including the common cold) can cause respiratory infections, but influenza viruses are more likely to cause severe illness and to result in serious medical complications. Although gastrointestinal symptoms may sometimes accompany influenza infection, especially in children, the term “stomach flu” is a misnomer for gastrointestinal illnesses, which are caused typically by a variety of other viruses, bacteria, or other agents. See also: Common cold; Infectious disease; Pathogen; Respiratory system disorders; Virus; Virus classification
The content above is only an excerpt.
for your institution. Subscribe
To learn more about subscribing to AccessScience, or to request a no-risk trial of this award-winning scientific reference for your institution, fill in your information and a member of our Sales Team will contact you as soon as possible.
to your librarian. Recommend
Let your librarian know about the award-winning gateway to the most trustworthy and accurate scientific information.
AccessScience provides the most accurate and trustworthy scientific information available.
Recognized as an award-winning gateway to scientific knowledge, AccessScience is an amazing online resource that contains high-quality reference material written specifically for students. Its dedicated editorial team is led by Sagan Award winner John Rennie. Contributors include more than 9000 highly qualified scientists and 42 Nobel Prize winners.
MORE THAN 8500 articles and Research Reviews covering all major scientific disciplines and encompassing the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology and McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science & Technology
115,000-PLUS definitions from the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms
3000 biographies of notable scientific figures
MORE THAN 17,000 downloadable images and animations illustrating key topics
ENGAGING VIDEOS highlighting the life and work of award-winning scientists
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY and additional readings to guide students to deeper understanding and research
LINKS TO CITABLE LITERATURE help students expand their knowledge using primary sources of information