OMIKRON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY OMIKRON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
False-colour transmission electron micrograph (TEM) of a cluster of influenza viruses. This is a highly contagious orthomyxovirus. It consists of a core (yellow) of ribonucleic acid (RNA) surrounded by a spiked protein envelope (blue) of haemaglu- tinin. The spikes adhere to host cells when the virus is spread from an infected person. 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. However, the haemaglutinin spikes of the virus can change their structure to create a new influenza strain which may spread as an epidemic. Magnification: unknown.
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