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Introduction to Viruses

Author(s): Christine Herrmann, PhD

Which Human Diseases Are Caused By Viruses?

Viruses cause diseases in the many organisms that they infect. This slide lists some of the more well-known infectious diseases of humans caused by DNA and RNA viruses. Viruses also cause significant problems in animals and plants.

Some viruses, referred to as “tumor viruses,” also can cause cancer. The cancer-causing abilities of some tumor viruses have been demonstrated only in animals. However, there is growing evidence that certain viruses cause specific types of human cancers.  For example, some types of papillomavirus, a DNA virus, have been identified as a cause of cervical cancer. HTLV-1, a retrovirus, causes a type of adult leukemia.


Funded by the following grant(s)

Video and transcript courtesy of Wah Chiu, PhD, National Center for Macromolecular Imaging at Baylor College of Medicine. Funding for the video provided by NCMI, NIH.