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Glossary (N-S)

Parasite = Animal or plant organism which cannot survive without its host.

Pathogen = That causes pain (from the Greek “pathos”). Therefore, a pathogenic agent is a disease-causing microbe.

Pinworms = Small white intestinal worms, a few centimeters big. They are quite frequent in children and their surroundings. In the evening and at night, the female lays its eggs around the anus, producing an irritating substance. Scratching of the area will lead to dissemination of the eggs. Pinworms are not dangerous and easily treatable.

Plague = Disease caused by Yersinia pestis. Several rodent species may carry this bacterium, such as rats or squirrels. The fleas living on these rodents are infected by the bacterium and can transmit it to humans by biting them. Since the discovery of antibiotics, the plague does no longer present a serious threat compared to the deadly epidemics of the past.

Platelet = Small cell without a nucleus found in the blood and required for coagulation.

Regurgitation = Spitting up of food content from the stomach or esophagus back into the mouth. Several birds and mammals regurgitate food for their babies.

Red blood cell = Cell found in the blood that transports oxygen. The protein hemoglobin binds oxygen within the cell and delivers it to all other cells in the body. This cell does not have a nucleus.

Rickettsia = Rickettsia are a bacterial species from the Rickettsiaceae family. These bacteria can only survive and multiply inside a cell. They are transmitted to humans and animals through different arthropods.

Roundworms = Intestinal worms that can cause bloating and abdominal pain. They look like earthworms, which explains their name vermicoid ascaris.

Sepsis = Serious blood and organ infection. There are two types of sepsis: bacterial (bacteremia) and or fungal (fungemia).

Syphilis = Sexually transmitted disease (STD) that can present itself with a non-painful ulceration of the mucosal membrane (inoculation canker) or a skin rash without itchiness. If it is not treated, syphilis can become chronic and cause dementia several years after the infection (3 to 20 years). It is currently having an upsurge in Switzerland and other developed countries.