NIBSC / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NIBSC / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
False-colour transmission electron micrograph of a single influenza virus. This highly contagious virus is of the orthomyxovirus group. It consists of a core of ribonucleic acid (RNA), surrounded by a spiked protein envelope of haemaglutinin. The spikes adhere to host cells when the virus is spread from an infected person. The virus has an affinity for mucus, & is transmitted by coughed or sneezed droplets which are inhaled into another respiratory tract. Influenza infection is usually short-lived. However, the haemaglutinin spikes of the virus can change their structure to create a new influenza strain which may spread as an epidemic. Mag:x100,000 at 6x4.5cm,64,000 at 35mm.
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