CNRI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CNRI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
False-colour transmission electron micrograph (TEM) of influenza viruses (orange) budding from the surface of an infected cell. Influenza is very contagious. It belongs to the orthomyxovirus group. It consists of a core of ribonucleic acid (RNA), surrounded by a spiked protein envelope. These spikes adhere to host cells when the virus is spread. The virus has an affinity for mucus, and is transmitted by coughed or sneezed droplets which are inhaled into another respiratory tract. Influenza infection is usually short-lived. The spikes of the virus, however, can change their structure creating a new influenza strain. Magnification x17,150 at 6x7cm size.
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