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Glossary (A-C)

Aerosols = Water droplets that can be transported by wind and air and enter our respiratory tracts.

Amoeba = Small living single cell organism, which is capable of moving. It is naturally found in our environment, especially in water and humid zones. Some bacteria and viruses can multiply in amoebas, making them reservoirs for these microbes.

Antibiotic = A drug which allows to kill bacteria or at least to stop their growth. Antibiotics act against bacteria, but do not help treat diseases caused by viruses and parasites.

Antibodies = Molecules produced by specific immune cells following an infection or a vaccination. They recognize foreign organism and provide protection against them.

Arthropod Small animal with articulated legs and an external rigid skeleton, which forces it to evolve through successive molts. Over one million and a half different species of arthropods exist. It is the one animal group most present on earth. It includes insects, arachnids (spiders, scorpions and mites), shellfish, and Myriapoda (centipedes).

Biofilm = Community of microbes creating a thin viscous layer.

Chagas disease = Parasitic disease caused by Trypanosoma cruzi and transmitted by a bloodsucking flea in rural areas in Central and South America. It is characterized by symptoms such as fever, fatigue, and sometimes swelling at biting site. Liver and spleen hypertrophy or muscular pains can arise in children and people with weak immune systems. In about 30% of the infected people, the disease can become chronic with sometimes serious damage to the heart and muscles.

Chelicera = Barbs in the shape of knives which can be moved laterally and which serve to tear the skin.

Chlamydia = There are several species of Chlamydia. They can cause a broad range of diseases. One of these bacteria, Chlamydia trachomatis is responsible for a rather frequent sexually transmitted infection (STI), touching about 5% of the sexually active population in Europe. The infection is often asymptomatic and usually goes unnoticed. Women, who have been exposed to Chlamydia trachomatis can become sterile or suffer a miscarriage.

Cysticercosis = Disease caused by larval cysts of the tapeworm Taenia solium found in pigs. The disease is benign when the larvae end up in the muscles or subcutaneous tissues. However, serious complications can occur when the larvae infect the eye or brain (seizures).