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    A preparation, often of living weakened microorganisms, that is introduced into the body to produce immunity to a specific disease by causing the formation of antibodies.


When a body's immune system helps fend off disease.

Illness or sickness often characterized by typical patient problems (symptoms) and physical findings (signs). Disruption sequence: The events that occur when a fetus that is developing normally is subjected to a destructive agent such as the rubella (German measles) virus.

Proteins produced by white blood cells. They confer immunity.


Originally referred to immunization against smallpox with the less virulent cowpox (vaccinia) virus; more loosely used for any immunization against a pathogen.

An infection, primarily local and limited to the site of inoculation, induced in man by inoculation with the vaccinia (coxpox) virus in order to confer resistance to smallpox (variola). On about the third day after vaccination, papules form at the site of inoculation which become transformed into umbilicated vesicles and later pustules; they then dry up, and the scab falls off on about the 21st day, leaving a pitted scar; in some cases there are more or less marked constitutional disturbances.


Viral hepatitis
Hepatitis caused by a virus. Five different viruses (A, B, C, D, and E) most commonly cause this form of hepatitis. Other rare viruses may also cause hepatitis. See hepatitis.

Vitreous humor
The clear gelatinous substance that fills the eyeball between the retina and the lens.

A twisting of the stomach or large intestine. May be caused by the stomach being in the wrong position, a foreign substance, or abnormal joining of one part of the stomach or intestine to another. Volvulus can lead to blockage, perforation, peritonitis, and poor blood flow.

The release of stomach contents through the mouth.

External, visible part of the female genital area.


Vaginal birth
The birth of a baby through the vaginal canal, as opposed to cesarean birth through a surgical incision in the abdomen.

Vaginal birth after cesarean
The vaginal birth of a baby after a woman has already had a child by cesarean. While VBACs are increasingly considered a safe option, an estimated one percent of women attempting this will have a uterine rupture and require an emergency cesarean.

Varicella vaccine
The newest vaccine developed for children; the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends giving it between 12 and 14 months. Estimated to be 70 to 90 percent effective - if your child still comes down with chicken pox, it will be a mild case.

Vas deferens
One of two tubes that carry sperm from the testicles to the penis. When a man has a vasectomy, it is the vas deferens that is severed.

A surgical procedure in which a man's vas deferens is cut, preventing sperm from being ejaculated. While the procedure can sometimes be reversed, is generally considered a permanent form of birth control.

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