We all know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but sometimes beauty if fund in the places you'd never expect, even in the cellular realm. With the help of a microscope, scientists can isolate some of the most common or deadly viruses and analyse if there's a definitive cure for them. Though some of them aren't something we want to have near, their strange beauty is striking and unexpected. We'll take you to a cellular tour of some of the responsible of illness and we'll try to find something beautiful through the lenses of a scientific microscope.


Ebola virus

Eye of Science

Ebola virus was discovered in 1976 after an outbreak in Yambuku, Democratic Republic of the Congo. It has the highest case-fatality rate of the ebolaviruses family, averaging 83 percent since the first outbreaks. Transmission has been attributed to reuse of unsterilized needles and close personal contact, body fluids and places where the person has touched.

Gas gangrene


Also known as clostridial myonecrosis is a bacterial infection that produces gas in tissues in gangrene. This deadly form of gangrene is considered a medical emergency. Treatment is usually debridement and excision, with amputation necessary in many cases. Unfortunately, water-soluble antibiotics such as penicillin.



Herpes has been around as early as ancient Greek times. The name itself came from the greek word "herpes" to mean "to creep or crawl". This virus establish lifelong infections, and can't be eradicated from the body. Treatment usually involves antiviral drugs that interfere with replication, reduce the physical severity of outbreak-associated lesions, and lower the chance of transmission to others.



Monkeypox is an infectious disease that might be spread may be spread from handling bush meat, an animal bite or scratch, body fluids, contaminated objects, or close contact with an infected person. It appears similar to a chickenpox, with symptoms like fever, headache, muscle pains, swollen lymph nodes, feeling tired and later a rash that forms blisters and crusts over. The duration of symptoms is typically 2 to 5 weeks. Currently, there is no proven, safe treatment for monkeypox. Currently, there is no proven, safe treatment for monkeypox.



Though is considered as a synonym of measles in humans, it is know that also affects dogs, cats, cattle, and cetaceans serve as natural hosts. Diseases associated with viruses classified in this genus include acute febrile respiratory tract infection and rinderpest.



Kuru is a rare incurable neurodegenerative disorder that was formerly common among the Fore people of Papua New Guinea due to their cannibalistic nature. The term kuru derives from the Fore word kuria ("to shake") due to the body tremors that are a classic symptom of the disease. Other symptoms includes loss of coordination, and neurodegeneration. While the Fore people stopped eating human in the 1960's, the disease lingered due to kuru's long incubation period of anywhere from 10 to over 50 years. Nevertheless, the epidemic declined sharply after discarding cannibalism, from 200 deaths per year in 1957 to 1 or no deaths annually in 2005, with sources disagreeing on whether the last known kuru victim died in 2005 or 2009.



Depictions of the disease in ancient art determines that Poliomyelitis has existed for thousands of years. The disease was first recognized as a distinct condition in 1789 and the virus that causes it was first identified in 1908. It was one of the 20th century's most worrying childhood diseases until 1950 when the first polio vaccine was developed in the 1950s. It is hoped that vaccination efforts and early detection of cases will result in global eradication of the disease by 2018.



Filariasis is a parasitic disease caused by an infection with roundworms spreaded by blood-feeding black flies and mosquitoes. One of the notable symptoms tha might occur if the parasite lodges in the lymphatic system is Elephantiasis. Recommended treatment include a cocktail of antiparasitic medication and antibiotics.



Due to a successful vaccination campaign, Smallpox is one of the few diseases to have been eradicated. It was an infectious disease caused by one of two virus variants, Variola major and Variola minor and the risk of death following contracting the disease was about 30%, with higher rates among babies. The last naturally occurring case was diagnosed in 1977 and the World Health Organization certified the global eradication of the disease in 1980.

Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease

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CJD is a fatal brain disorder caused by an infectious protein which can be transmitted by contaminated harvested human brain products, corneal grafts, dural grafts, or electrode implants and human growth hormone. Early symptoms include memory problems, behavioral changes, poor coordination, and visual disturbances in the early stages and dementia, involuntary movements, blindness, weakness, and coma in the latter ones. About 90% of people die within a year of diagnosis.



Diphtheria is an infection caused by this bacterium: Corynebacterium diphtheriae. Symptoms can vary between sore throat and fever to more sever cases where a grey or white patch develops in one's throat. It's is usually spread between people by direct contact, through the air or by touching contaminated objects. In some cases, people might be carrying the bacteria without having symptoms, but can still spread the disease to others



Also known as Cave disease, is a caused by a fungus and affects primarily the lungs. If it spreads to other organs it's refered as "disseminated histoplasmosis" and it can be fatal if left untreated. This disease might be common to patients with a suppressed immunity system. It is treated with antifungal medication.



Mumps is highly contagious and spreads rapidly among people who lives under the same roof. Though initial signs and symptoms often includes fever, muscle pain, headache, and feeling tired, the most distinctive is the painful swelling of one or both salivary glands. Symptoms in adults are often more severe than in children.

Heartland virus


The Heartland virus tick-borne virus discovered in northwestern Missouri and is transmitted by the Lone Star Tick when feeding on blood. Symptoms may include high fever, lethargy, headaches, muscle pain, loss of appetite, among others. Elevated liver transaminases may also be present. Treatment is non-specific and the best option includes intravenous fluid administration and pain-relieve medication.



Malaria is an infectious disease that affects humans and other animals. The most common way to contagion is through the bite from an infected female Anopheles mosquito, who introduces introduces parasites from her saliva into a person's blood. In severe cases it can cause yellow skin, seizures, coma, or death.


University of Iowa

Keratitis is a condition in which the eye's cornea becomes inflamed. The condition is often marked by moderate to intense pain and usually involves any of the following symptoms: pain, impaired eyesight, photophobia, red eye and a gritty sensation. When contracted, antiviral treatment must be applied urgently as some infections may scar the cornea to limit vision.



Tuberculosis is an infectious disease that generally affects the lungs, but can also affect other parts of the body. Tuberculosis is spread through the air when infected people cough, spit, speak, or sneeze. The historical term "consumption" came about due to the weight loss who came as a symptom.

African sleeping sickness


African trypanosomiasis (also known as sleeping sickness) is an insect-borne parasitic disease of humans and other animals. It is usually transmitted by the bite of an infected tsetse fly and are most common in rural areas. Initially, the first stages of the disease starts one to three weeks after the initial bite and includes fever, headache, itchiness, and joint pains.[ The second stage begins with confusion, poor coordination, numbness and trouble sleeping. Currently there are few medically related prevention options and the prevention centers on eliminating or preventing the spread of the tsetse fly.

Common cold


The cold we have at least once a year is a viral infectious disease of the upper respiratory tract that primarily affects the nos, the throat, sinuses, and larynx Signs and symptoms may appear less than two days after exposure to the virus. These may also include coughing, sore throat, runny nose, sneezing, headache, and fever. More than 200 virus strains are implicated in causing the common cold and they spread through the air during close contact with infected people or indirectly through contact with objects in the environment, followed by transfer to the mouth or nose. There is no vaccine for the common cold.

Black piedra


This disease is caused by a superficial fungus that exists in the soils of tropical and subtropical environments. It is basically a hair disease characterized by soft nodules composed of yeast cells and arthroconidia that encompass hair shafts. The most effective treatment is the use of antifungal medication or shaving the affected area.



Rotavirus is a common cause of diarrhoeal disease among infants and young children.[Nearly every child in the world is infected with this virus at least once by the age of five, developing immunity with each infection, so subsequent ones are less severe. Although rotavirus was discovered in 1973, its importance has historically been underestimated within the public health community. It also infects animals, and is a pathogen of livestock.

Swine Flu

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This influenza is an infection caused by any one of several types of swine influenza viruses. It was initially seen in humans in Mexico in 2009. Transmission of the virus from pigs to humans is rare and doesn't always lead to human flu, but people with regular exposure to pigs are at increased risk an infection.


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The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is retrovirus that causes infection and over time, Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Without treatment, average survival is estimated to be 9 to 11 years. In most cases, HIV is a sexually transmitted infection, occuring by contact with or transfer of blood, pre-ejaculate, semen, and vaginal fluids. There are case of non-sexual transmission an infected mother to her infant through breast milk.

Hepatitis A


Hepatitis A is an infectious disease of the liver. In many cases there are few or no symptoms, especially in the young. Infections usually resolve completely and without ongoing liver disease, but sometimes a transplant is required. The hepatitis A vaccine is effective for prevention. Other preventive measures include hand washing and properly cooking food.

Yellow Fever

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It is believed that the evolutionary origins of yellow fever most likely lie in Africa, with transmission of the disease from nonhuman primates to humans. Is a viral disease of typically short duration, which in most cases, symptoms include fever, chills, loss of appetite, nausea, muscle pains particularly in the back, and headaches. The disease is caused by the yellow fever virus and is spread by the bite of an infected female mosquito. Symptoms typically improve within five days but sometimes the fever comes back, abdominal pain occurs, and liver damage begins causing yellow skin.

West Nile Virus

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This is a single-stranded virus that causes West Nile fever, a viral infection. It is primarily transmitted through mosquitoes but there been cases where ticks have been found to carry the virus as well. First detected in 1937, it's detected through blood tests. In most cases of infections people have few or no symptoms, in less cases, they develop a fever, headache, vomiting, or a rash, while in fewer scenarios encephalitis or meningitis occurs.

Simian Virus

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SV40 is found in both monkeys and humans. It was named for the effect it produced on infected green monkey cells, which developed an unusual number of vacuoles. It has the potential to cause tumors in animals, but most often persists as a latent infection. This virus was in the middle of a controversy as it was revealed that between 1955 and 1963 around 90% of children and 60% of adults in the U.S. were inoculated with SV40-contaminated polio vaccines.

Hepatitis B


Hepatitis B share its symptoms with the A strain of the virus but the most important difference is that is only transmitted through blood and or body fluids and the range of the incubation period (average 90 days). It's a chronic disease, so medication can only prevent large-scale liver problems. However there's a vaccine that can prevent the contagion of this disease.


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Commonly known as the "flu", is an infectious disease caused by this virus. There's a wide range of influenzas with mild to severe symptoms. The most common ones are high fever, runny nose, sore throat, muscle pains, headache, coughing, and feeling tired. Most common Influenza spreads around the world in a yearly outbreak, resulting in about three to five million cases of severe illness. Every year there's a new vaccine, as the virus strain adapts to the last one.


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It's a mosquito-borne virus of the family. Dengue is found in tropical and sub-tropical climates worldwide, mostly in urban and semi-urban areas. The disease occurs most often during the rainy season in areas with high numbers of infected mosquitoes, as they're the only ones who can transmit the disease. A person with dengue fever is not contagious.


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Severe acute respiratory syndrome is a viral respiratory disease most known for the 2002-2003 outbreak in China where 774 people died. Initial symptoms are flu-like, with the only symptom common to all patients appears to be a fever above 38 °C (100 °F). SARS may eventually lead to shortness of breath and/or pneumonia.

Hepatitis C

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This string of the Hepatitis virus is the only one who can't be prevented nor eliminated from the patient's body. Its been rarely transmitted through sexual intercourse, being body fluids the most common carrier of the disease. As there's no vaccine to contrarrest the illness, it is recommended for people born during 1945–1965, injecting drug users, recipients of clotting factors made before 1987, hemodialysis patients, recipients of blood or solid organ transplants before 1992, infants born to HCV-infected mothers and people with undiagnosed abnormal liver test results to be tested for the virus.


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Botulism is a rare and potentially fatal illness caused by a toxin. Fisrt symptoms include weakness, blurred vision, feeling tired, and trouble speaking. The disease does not usually affect consciousness or cause a fever. The toxin will attack in a different way depending if it is inhaled, eaten or injected. Though there is a vaccine, its usefulness is unclear as it is associated with significant adverse effects.

Typhoid Fever


Caused by a string of the salmonella bacteria, typhoid is an infection with symptoms that may vary from mild to severe that includes weakness, abdominal pain, constipation, and headaches. Some people develop a skin rash with rose colored spots. It is believed that the plague that killed one third of Athens population in 430 BC was thyphoid fever. The most notorious carrier of typhoid fever was Mary Mallon (also known as Typhoid Mary). The was a cook who In 1907 became the first carrier in the United States to be identified and traced due to be closely associated with 53 cases and three deaths.



A parasitic disease, infections with toxoplasmosis usually cause no obvious symptoms in adults. Occasionally there may be weeks or months of mild flu-like illness such as muscle aches. In a small number of people, eye problems may develop. Patients with a weak immune system diseases such as HIV may have severe symptoms such as seizures and poor coordination may occur. If infected during pregnancy, a condition known as congenital toxoplasmosis may affect the child. Treatment is often only recommended for people with serious health problems



Also known as Hansen's disease, is a long-term infection by the bacterium. Initially, infections are without symptoms and typically remain this way for a couple of years. Symptoms that develop include granulomas of the nerves, respiratory tract, skin, and eyes. This may result in a lack of ability to feel pain, thus loss of parts of extremities due to repeated injuries or infection due to unnoticed wounds. Leprosy is spread between people, thought to occur through a cough or contact with fluid from the nose of an infected person. Nevertheless, contrary to popular belief, it is not highly contagious and is curable with a treatment known as multidrug therapy.



Orthohantaviruses are single-stranded viruses that can kill humans. The common hosts are rodents, which carry the disease but they are inmune to it. Contact with the rodent's urine, saliva, or feces is the main way humans contract this disease. Some strains of hantaviruses cause potentially fatal diseases in humans, such as hantavirus hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) and hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS). Its name cames from the Hantan River area in South Korea where an early outbreak was observed.



Gonorrhea, s a sexually transmitted infection. While any people have no symptoms, men may have burning with urination, discharge from the penis, or testicular pain and women may have burning with urination, vaginal discharge, vaginal bleeding between periods, or pelvic pain. If untreated, gonorrhea can spread to joints or heart valves. It's spread through sexual contact with an infected person, including oral, anal, and vaginal sex. Gonorrhea can be treated with antibiotics and the recommended prevention includes the use of condoms, having sex with only one person who is uninfected and by not having sex at all


Dr. Lam

Anthrax is an infection caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis. Its name comes from the greek word for coal, because of the black skin lesions developed by victims with a cutaneous infection. Anthrax has been known by a wide variety of names, including Siberian plague, Cumberland disease, charbon, splenic fever, malignant edema, woolsorter's disease, and la maladie de Bradford.



Rabies is a viral disease that causes inflammation of the brain in humans and other mammals. The term is derived from the Latin rabies, which means "madness" and it has been known since around 2000 B.C. The main symptoms include violent movements, uncontrolled excitement, fear of water, an inability to move parts of the body, confusion, and loss of consciousness.



These infections are categorized based on the part of the body infected, which can be the face or mouth (oral herpes), the genitalia (genital herpes), the fingers (herpetic whitlow), herpes of the eye, herpes infection of the brain, and neonatal herpes when it affects a newborn. Herpes cycles between periods of active disease followed by periods without symptoms.



Also known as cryptococcal disease, is a potentially fatal fungal disease. It is believed to be acquired by inhalation from the environment. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, dry cough, headache, blurred vision, and confusion. If the condition gets worst it can lead to meningitis and pulmonary infection. Cryptococcosis is also seen in cats and occasionally dogs.


Merck Veterinary Manual

This disease is caused by a parasite of ruminants, infecting red blood cells. It's usually transmitted by ticks, by the use of surgical, dehorning, castration, and tattoo instruments and hypodermic needles that are not disinfected between uses. This disease may cause a severe anemia and result in cardiovascular changes such as an increase in heart rate.



Meningitis is an acute inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. Because of the inflammation's proximity to the brain and spinal cord, it can be life-threatening and it's classified as a medical emergency. The inflammation may be caused by infection with viruses, bacteria, or other microorganisms, and by certain drugs.

Lyme disease


Also known as Lyme borreliosis, is an infectious disease caused by bacteria which is spread by ticks. The most common sign of infection is an expanding area of redness on the skin, known as erythema migrans that begins at the site of a tick bite about a week after it has occurred. The rash is usually neither itchy nor painful.

Meningococcal disease


This disease describes infections caused by a bacterium and while it carries a high mortality rate if untreated, is a vaccine-preventable disease. While best known as a cause of meningitis, widespread blood infection can result in sepsis, which is a more damaging and dangerous condition. It can be transmitted through saliva and general contact with an infected person.


Daily Mirror

Plague is an infectious disease, usually developing symptoms one to seven days after exposure. In the bubonic form there is also swelling of lymph nodes, while in the septicemic form tissues may turn black and die, and in the pneumonic form shortness of breath, cough and chest pain may occur. It has historically occurred in large outbreaks, with the most well known being the Black Death in the 14th century which resulted in greater than 50 million dead.

Kawasaki disease


Also known as mucocutaneous lymph node syndrome, is a disease in which blood vessels throughout the body become inflamed. Discovered in 1961, common symptoms include a fever that lasts for more than five days not affected by usual medications, large lymph nodes in the neck, a rash in the genital area, and red eyes, lips, palms or soles of the feet. In some children, coronary artery aneurysms may form in the heart after 1-2 years.


Daily Telegraph

Legionnaires' disease acquired its name in July 1976, when an outbreak of pneumonia occurred among people attending a convention of the American Legion in Philadelphia. It's a form of atypical pneumonia with symptoms that include cough, shortness of breath, high fever, muscle pains, and headaches. This often begins two to ten days after being exposed.


The Upturned Microscope

Cholera is an infection of the small intestine and affects an estimated 3–5 million people worldwide, causing 28,800–130,000 deaths a year.. t is spread mostly by unsafe water and unsafe food that has been contaminated with human feces containing the bacteria and undercooked seafood is a common source. Though the classic symptom is large amounts of watery diarrhea that lasts a few days causing dehydration and electrolyte imbalance, vomiting and muscle cramps may also occur. Prevention methods against cholera include improved sanitation and access to clean water. Cholera vaccines that are given by mouth provide reasonable protection for about six months.

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