Wednesday, July 15, 2009


My name is Astrovirus.
Astroviridae is my family.

I have star-like points that gave me my astronomical name.

I move around through fecal-oral transmission.
I love kids, daycare workers and soldiers.
I also like the elderly and people with poor immune systems.
I cause gastroenteritis with diarrhoea, pain and vomiting.

I am milder than my friends Norovirus and Rotavirus.

I won't dehydrate you as much.

Monday, July 13, 2009


Hey, I'm Adenovirus.
I'm from the Adenoviridae family.
I have many special talents.

In the lungs I cause Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome.
I hang with infants and soldiers.
In the eyes I give you a contagious conjunctivitis.
You can also get 'swimming pool conjunctivitis' from me.
I can cause gastroenteritis, especially in kids.
They have fever, vomiting and diarrhoea.

I also like the urinary tract.
I can cause acute haemorrhagic cystitis in boys.
I may play a role in coeliac disease and intersusseption.
Plus I am sometimes seen in myocarditis.

Phew! I'm very busy.

Friday, July 03, 2009


My name is Rotavirus

I'm from the Reoviridae family.

I am the most common cause of gastroenteritis in kids.

I love children under 4 four year old.

I am biggest in the colder seasons.

I cause diarrhoea.

I also give the kids fever, nausea and vomiting.

I'm very common, but don't let that fool you.

My diarrhoea can be severe.

I can kill if I'm not looked after.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Hi there.
My name is Norovirus
I'm a caliciviridea family virus.
I used to be called Norfolk virus, after visiting the city of Norfolk.

I cause gastroenteritis.
I make people nauseous and sick.

I am passed feaco-orally.
I am also carried in food, especially seafood like oysters.
I am busiest during the winter.
I love places like schools, nursing homes and hospitals.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Influenza: 2009 'Swine' Flu

Hi, I'm Swine.
Or pig flu.

Or H1N1 Flu.

I'm an H1N1 Type A Influenza virus.

I was first found in humans in Mexico

I started in April.

I am in almost every country now.

I can pass between people.

I am in the news all the time now.

I'm very famous.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Influenza: 2003 Bird flu

Hi, I'm Bird or Avian flu,
But I'm not the only bird flu!
People called me that when they found me in people.

I was first noticed in 2003, around Thailand.
Many birds were killed to try to stop my spread.
So far, I have been found in about 400 people.
I killed over 200 of them.

I don't usually move from person to person.
Some people think I have started to.

I used to be in the news a lot.
People don't about me as much anymore.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Influenza: 1968 Hong Kong Flu

Hi, I'm Hong Kong flu.
I started out as my 1957 friend.
In 1968 I went through antigen shift,
I then became H3N2 and spread.
I moved from China to Hong Kong.
I lasted for 2 years.

I was milder than my earlier flu friend.
Not as many people died.
I also came from mixing of human and bird strains.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Influenza: 1957 Asian Flu

Hi, I'm the H2N2 'Asian Flu'.
I am an Influenza A strain.

I started in Guizhou, China in early 1957.
I moved to Singapore, Hong Kong, and then to the rest of the world.
I hit the US and UK by the end of the year.
I lasted to 1958.

My first wave hit school kids.
My second wave hit the elderly.
I was milder than my 1918 friend,
But I still managed to kill over a million people.
People made a vaccine against me.

I came from antigen shift between wild ducks and people.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Influenza: 1918 Spanish Flu

I'm the influenza pandemic of 1918.
I was an influenza A virus H1N1 type flu.
I was called Spanish flu when I got to Spain early on.
In Spain I was called 'La Grippe'.

I had H1N1 that one no had seen before,
So no one was immune.

I spread all over the world at the end of WW1.

I went through the soldiers and then the rest of the world.
Some of my brother flu viruses killed the weak, the very young or very old.
I was deadliest to healthy young people.

I lasted for 2 years and killed 40 million people.
That's more than World War 1 and more than the black death!

Influenza: Drift and Shift

Hi again, Flu here.
We flu viruses change in 2 ways.

The first is called antigen drift.
These are small changes to our Ha and Na pieces.

The old flu vaccines can't find our new looks.

So each year a new vaccine is needed.

The second is called antigen shift.

We jump between animals like birds or pigs.
We get ourselves brand new Ha or Na pieces,
so we look like brand new viruses.

People usually don't have immunity to these new viruses.
This is one of ways we get 'influenza pandemics'

Antigen shift and drift 2

Influenza Virus

Hi, we are the Influenza Virus, or 'The Flu".
We are part of the Orthomyxoviridae family.

We come in types A, B and C.

We are one of the most well known viruses in the world.

We make you feel groggy and head heavy.
We cause cough, chills, fever, malaise and muscle aches.
We can also cause pneumonia.

We each have two special pieces of proteins.
These are Haemagglutinin (Ha) and Neuraminidase (Na).

Each piece has a number.

You can use these numbers to tell us apart.

We infect people, birds, horses and pigs.

Influenza special

This humble zoo keeper will be starting some flu-related posts with some special entries over the coming week. Stay tuned.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Parvovirus B19

Hi there.
My name is Parvovirus B19.
I'm from the Parvoviridae family.

I cause Erythema Infectiosum
You can call it
slapped cheek, or 5th disease.
I give you fever, muscle ache and lymphadenopathy.
My rash starts on your face and moves to your arms and legs.

When I visit pregnant mothers I can give their babies fetal hydrops.
They get anaemia, oedema and heart failure.

Friday, April 24, 2009


My name is Coronavirus.

My family is Coronaviridae.

My name means crown.
I was named for the 'crown' around me.
I am a common cause of the common cold.

I am most well known for SARS, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.
I start with fever and breathlessness, then pneumonia
I was first found in China during 2002.
Then to Hong Kong, Singapore Thialand, Vietnam and even Canada.
By 2003 I had mostly disappeared.

I was in the news a lot.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Hello hello!
I'm Rhinovirus.
I am from the family Picornaviridae

You have probably all met me before.
You can call me the common cold.
I am the most common cause the ol' sniffles.

I give you a runny nose, sore throat and cough.
I like the winter months.

Monday, April 20, 2009

enterovirus 71

Hi, I'm Enterovirus 71.
I'm from the family Picornaviridae.

I am an Enterovirus.

I'm the newest of the new Enteroviruses.

I can be spread in droplets for through poor sanitation.

I cause fever.

I am another common cause of hand, foot and mouth disease.

I can cause neurological disease.

I'm good at aseptic meningitis, encephalitis and polio-like paralysis.

I can be very severe.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Enterovirus 70

Hi, my name is Enterovirus 70.
I'm from family
I'm an Enterovirus, one of the 'newer' Enteroviruses.

I'm known for my acute haemorrhagic conjunctivitis.
I spread to eyes from infected contacts like fingers.
You get pain and swelling around the eye,
as well as photophobia,
fever and headache.

Sometimes my conjunctivits is followed by paralysis.
After a few weeks I can look just like cousin polio.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


My name is Poliovirus.
I'm an Enterovirus from the family Picornaviridae.

I have 3 serotypes, mostly I give people type 1.

Most most people who get me are asymptomatic.

Then a few more get fever, vomiting
, headache and sore throat.

A small proportion get my well-known paralytic polio.
I get into the spine or brain.
In s
pinal paralysis I affect your arms and legs.
In the brain I cause bulbar paralysis of the respiratory muscles.
Then you need an 'Iron Lung' to breath for you.

Some people spend their whole life in an Iron Lung.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Coxsackie B Virus

Hi my name if Coxsackie B Virus.

I'm part of the Picornaviridae family.
I am an

I'm very fond of the heart.

I cause pericarditis, myocarditis and cardiomyopathy.
I give you pleurodina, with
chest and abdominal pain, with fever and headache.

Some people think I can causing type 1 diabetes mellitus.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Coxsackie a

Hi, I'm Coxsackie A Virus.
I'm an Enterovirus.
I'm from the
Picornaviridae family.
I'm named after a town in New York where I was first found.

I am the main cause of hand, foot and mouth disease.
Guess where this rash appears?
That's right! Your hands, feet and mouth.

I get into your lungs and respiratory system.
I also cause meningitis, gastro, pericarditis, myocarditis and herpangina.
I can even cause encephalitis if you get into your brain.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Marburg Virus

My name's Marburg.
I'm a filovirus, like my cousin Ebola.
I am also found in Africa.

Like Ebola, I make you bleed all over.
My name comes from a town in Germany.
I infected some workers there a long time ago.
I was brought there with some Green Monkeys.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Ebola Virus

Hiya, I'm Ebola!
I'm a filovirus.
Me and my family are very rare.

I am a hook shape.

I get into you through blood and other fluids.

I cause haemorrhagic fever.

I quickly work on turning your organs into a mush.

I live is Africa, though I'd like to travel.
I'm very famous in books and movies.
My name comes from a river in Zaire.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Human Metapneumovirus

I am Human Metapneumovirus.
I'm the from family Paramyxoviridae.
I am a Pneumovirus.

I was first found in 2001.
I'm big with kids and the elderly.
I am not as well known as my cousin RSV, but I do a lot of the same things that they do.
I cause wheezing and coughing.
My illness is not as severe as my cousin.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Respiratory Syncitial Virus

I am Respiratory Syncitial Virus.
I am part of the family Paramyxoviridae.

My specialty is brochiolitis in children.

I love kids under 3.
They get wheeze and cough as they try to breath.

I can cause strange sounding coughs.

When severe I give the kids respiratory distress.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Human Parainfluenza Virus

Hey there fella!
I am Human Parainfluenza Virus.
I'm from the Paramyxoviridae family.
But I'm not like my friend Influenza.

I am the most common cause of croup.
It is also called laryngo-tracheo-bronchitis.
I give kids a loud noise when they breathe in.

This is called stridor.

I also give kids a barking cough.
It sounds like a seal!

Friday, March 06, 2009


My name is Mumps.
I'm from the Paramyxoviridae family.

I cause parotitis in kids.
I make the glands in the mouth swell up.
They become sore and tender.

I am good at causing orchitis in boys.
I cause meningitis and encephelitis in the brain, even deafness.
I also like the thyroid gland and pancreas.

You can vaccinate against me.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Measles (Rubeola) virus

Hello my name is Measles.
I am also called Rubeola and 1st disease.
I am part of the Paramyxoviridae family.

I cause a special kind of exanthem, or rash.
My rash starts on your head, then moves down to your chest and then to your legs.

I give you red spots with blue centres inside your mouth.
These are called Koplick spots.
I can also cause subacute sclerosing pan-encephalitis.
This is a disease that shuts down your brain.

I used to be found a lot in kids, but nowadays most kids are vaccinated against me.

Monday, March 02, 2009


Hello, I'm the Rubella Virus.
I'm a Togavirus, of the Rubivirus species.

I am also called "German measles".
I get into your lungs.
I give you a red rash on your face, then the rest of your body.
I give you fever, joint pain and enlarged lymph nodes.

When I infect pregnant women I cause congenital rubella syndrome.
I cause congenital defects in the liver and spleen.
I can give children cataracts, heart defects and deafness.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus

Hey there.
My name is Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus.
I'm a Togavirus.
I'm also an arborvirus.

I mostly live around horses.
I also love birds, especially game birds and song birds.
I live in the United States and in South America, near marsh land and even the Amazon!

I cause encephalitis.
I start with fever and muscle pain, then headache, vomiting and seizures.
I can kill or paralyse.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Ross River Virus

Hello there.
My name is Ross River Virus.
I am an Alphavirus from the Togaviridae family.
I am an arborvirus.

I live in Australia like my cousin Murray Valley Encephalitis.
Unlike my cousin, I don't kill you.
But I do give you rash, headache and joint pain.

You get tired and worn out.

I am the most common arborvirus in Australia.
Sometimes I am carried by Wallabies.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Murray Valley Encephalitis

My name is Murray Valley Encephalitis Virus.

I'm an arborvirus from the Togaviridae family.

I can be found around Australia.
I like water birds and I just love heavy rains.
The water is good for my mosquito friends.

I give you fever, neck stiffness, headache and confusion.
You can go into a coma or get paralysed.
You might need help to breathe if I paralyse your lungs.

West Nile Virus

I'm West Nile Virus.
I'm a flavivirus.
I'm also an arborvirus.

I live in Africa, the Middle East, Europe and now in North America.
I live in crows and other wilds birds.

Then mosquitoes carry me.

Mostly I just give you fever and pain all over.
Sometimes I get into your brain.

I give you a rash.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Japanese Encephalitis Virus

Hi, I'm Japanese Encephalitis Virus.
I'm from Flaviviridae and an arborvirus.
I'm big all over Asia.

I live around rice fields.

I hang around pigs and water birds there.

Mosquitoes are my vectors.
That means they carry me from the animals to you.

My main job is giving you encephalitis.

I can have life long consequences.

There is a vaccine against me.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Dengue Virus

We're the Dengue Virus!
We're Flaviviruses.

We're found in the tropics.

We hitch a ride on an Aedes mosquito.
When she bites you, we get left behind.

We are 4 types.
A visit from one of us makes you sick with Dengue fever.
But we 'cross react' with each other.

So when another one of us visits, you get very sick.

You get Dengue haemorrhagic fever and can die.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Yellow Fever Virus

Hey, I'm Yellow Fever Virus.
I am from family Flaviviridae.

I am in Africa and South America.
I am an arborvirus.
This means I am carried in mosquitoes and ticks.
I travel in their saliva.

Like many of my arborvirus friends, I give you fever and haemorrhage.
Then headache and chills.
I make you yellow with jaundice.

I have two different homes to grow in.
My urban life cycle hangs around houses.
My sylvatic cycle uses monkeys in the jungle.
Oh well, there is a vaccine against me.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Tick-Borne Encephalitis Virus

My name is Tick-Borne Encephalitis Virus.
I am from the family Flaviviridae.
I was first found in Russia.

I am carried by Ixodes ticks.
They live on rodents.

People can also drink unpasteurised milk with me in it.
I have three types; European, Far Eastern and Siberian.

After a week or 2 I give you fever and sore muscles.

Sometimes I rest here for a few days, so you feel better.
Then I hit the nervous system.

I cause meningitis or encephalitis.

There can be coma, convulsions and even paralysis.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Human T-cell Lymphotrophic Virus 1

Human T-cell Lymphotrophic Virus.
I am also a retrovirus.
I'm so retro!

I transmit through blood, sexual contact and child birth.
I also target CD4 cells.
I make people more likely to get certain diseases.

I can cause leukemia.
I can get into your spinal cord.
There I cause myelopathy or even tropical spastic paraparesis.
I also get into skin, joints, lungs and eyes.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Human immunodeficiency Virus

My name is Human immunodeficiency virus.
I am a Retrovirus.
I'm very retro.
I have 2 types.

I make up the majority of HIV in the world.
I'm mostly found in Africa.

I lead to a disease called AIDS.
I travel through sexual contact, needles, blood and from mother to baby.

I get into
CD4+ immune cells.
They make my copies for me.

I start with a flu like illness.
Then I lay low for many years.
Then the illness becomes AIDS.

I lead to other infections, like Candida, PCP, CMV, HHV-8, HSV and Mycobacteria.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Human Papilloma Virus types 16 + 18

Human Papilloma Virus types 16 and 18.
I'm from family

I am sexually transmitted.
I am linked to cervical cancer.
My types 16 and 18 cause 70% of these.
Brothers 31, 33 and 45 cause some of the rest.

People have just found a vaccine against me.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Human Papilloma Virus types 6 + 11

We are Human Papilloma Virus, types 6 and 11.
We are from the Papillomaviridae family.

We are common causes of genital warts.

You can also call them condylomas.

We are sexually transmitted.

Babies get us from their mums at birth.

We give them warts in the throat and mouth

Friday, January 16, 2009

Human Papilloma Virus type 2

Hey there.
Call me Human Papilloma Virus Type 2.
I'm from the Papillomaviridae family.

I'm a warts virus like my cousin HPV-1.
I'm one of the types that cause common warts.
They are on your skin.
I get in through cuts and scrapes,
like when you fall down.

People used to think that toads caused warts.
But it was me.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Human Papilloma Virus type 1

I'm Human Papilloma Virus.
I'm type 1.
I'm from the family Papillomaviridae.

We Papilloma viruses are warts viruses.
There are many different types of us.

I am one of the types that often
gives you plantar warts.

These warts grow on the bottom of your feet!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Hepatitis E Virus

Hello, My name is Hepatitis E Virus.
I am a Hepevirus.

I'm like cousin Hepatitis A.
I move around in your water.
I get into seafood, but I also
hang out
in farm animals like
pigs and cows.

I'm most fond of places with unclean water.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Hepatitid D Virus

Hey folks.
My name is Hepatitis D virus.
I'm also called Hepatitis Delta.

I can't get you on my own, I need my friend HBV.
We have a "co-infection".
I can get into you at the same time as my cousin.
Or I can visit people who already have him.

My job is to make your liver even worse.