Study Guide

Microorganisms: Viruses - Types of Viral Spread

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Types of Viral Spread

So, there are a lot of different types of viruses out there (and that's not even including the weird viruses in the ocean that we never see). But how do we get infected with viruses? There are four main ways:

  • Oral-fecal (yup, by poop)
  • Blood (like in Texas Chainsaw Massacre)
  • By a vector (like a mosquito or other insect bite)
  • Saliva and other bodily fluids (ewww…)

It is important to realize that the types of spread are dependent upon the type of virus. Just the same, don't throw poop. You're better than that.

Enveloped viruses are highly sensitive to being degraded, so they cannot handle hostile environments, (such as dry surfaces, low pH, many hours outside of a host), so they are rarely spread by the oral-fecal route. OK, you can throw a little poop.

Because non-enveloped viruses just have a protein coat (called a capsid, and no, it is not made from fur), they are pretty sturdy and survive well outside of a host, which is why most non-enveloped viruses are spread by either the oral-fecal route or through a vector. Nevermind, cancel the aforementioned poop throwing.

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