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Glossary (T-Z)

Trachoma = Eye infection, which initially affects the eyelid but over time can cause lesions of the cornea leading to blindness. Trachoma is particularly present in sub-Saharan Africa and can be transmitted through flies. It is the main cause of blindness of infectious origin.

Tuberculosis = Infectious disease affecting mostly the lungs, causing cough, fever and weight loss. This disease can reach several other organs such as bones, kidneys and liver. It is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

Tularemia = Infectious disease also called rabbit fever caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis. Hare and rabbits, but also small wild rodents, such as field mice or voles are reservoirs for this bacterium. It can also be found in the water and the soil. It is transmitted to humans by infected ticks or by contact with contaminated environment or sick animals. Tularemia causes fever, headaches, muscular pain and local ulcers. It is curable with antibiotics.

Typhus = Contagious and serious disease caused by Rickettsia and transmitted to humans through mites (flea or lice) living on mice and rats. Typhus is characterized by a strong fever with headaches and sometimes a skin rash.

White blood cells = Blood cells that are part of the body’s immune system against microbes, also called leukocytes.

Yellow fever = Tropical disease from Africa and America transmitted by mosquitoes. It initially causes fever, shivers, muscle pain, and headaches. In the severe form, people can experience vomiting as well as having their liver and kidneys affected, with coma and death occuring 50 to 80% of the cases. Thankfully, there is a safe vaccine against yellow fever, which is mandatory for travelling to some countries.

Zika Virus = Transmitted by mosquitoes, the Zika virus causes a disease that usually is benign with various symptoms such as fever, headaches, a skin rash, some fatigue and some muscular and joint pains. However, in pregnant women, this virus can be the cause of microcephaly, a severe malformation of the fetus, causing mental retardation.

Zoonosis = Infectious disease transmitted directly or indirectly to humans by animals.