Aug 19, 2009
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Is A Viral Infection Contagious?

For those that would like to understand more about viral infections, one component of viruses is how contagious they are to humans. The aspect of being contagious is how easy it is for a virus to spread. All viruses are not the same and many viruses spread easier than others and their method of transmission is different than others. In addition, other aspects such as how easy a virus can reproduce, the time it takes to reproduce and other factors all come into play when considering if a viral infection is contagious.

Is A Viral Infection Contagious? Viral Replication

One of the biggest aspects of determining whether a viral infection is contagious is whether or not our bodies have the necessary resources to fight a virus effectively- so many times we never notice any detrimental affects. There are many viruses that our bodies come into contact each and everyday, many usually have no lasting effect on our body’s defenses and they are unable to reproduce or cause harm to our bodies. Other viruses are able to reproduce quickly and can have minor to slightly moderate affects on our body, such as the common cold. Some may catch a cold and have an occasional sneeze or runny nose, others might have a slight fever and aches and pains. Finally, there are other viruses that can completely decimate the body, eventually killing it- for instance AIDS.

Is A Viral Infection Contagious? Viral Infection Illustration

For the many viruses that are spread throughout the human species, the major way a human comes into contact with a virus is usually through inhalation or the many other orifices in the body such as the eyes, nose, sex organs and anus. This is why when we catch a flu virus, our body responds by fighting off the virus with antibodies that are discharged out of our nose and mouth. In addition, we raise the temperature of our body to help fight off both bacteria and viruses in the hopes that the higher temperature will slow down reproduction or kill the infecting agent.

In addition, while many viruses are contagious through air born contact, others require blood to blood transmission- AIDS is one type of virus that is not transmitted through the air, but instead through sexual contact or blood to blood transfer (a drug user sharing a hypodermic needle). So, all viruses are contagious, this is a necessary part of how a virus species survives. However, for the overwhelming majority of viruses, our bodies are able to defend against these agents and they do little if any harm to us.

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