Respiratory System Diseases


antigenic drift

process through which mutations accumulate in a viral genome and lead to antibody avoidance

catarrhal inflammation

condition that occurs when inflamed mucous membranes produce large amounts of mucus that is frequently coughed up and can cause difficulty breathing, in addition to fever, chills, and chest pain


combination of vaccines that protects against the diseases diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis; contains proteins isolated from B. pertussis that stimulate an adaptive immune response

goblet cell

simple columnar epithelial cell that secretes mucus to protect the mucous membrane


fungal infection acquired from the droppings of birds and bats in humid areas, which is not serious if confined to the lungs but can be fatal if it spreads throughout the body


respiratory infection caused by the influenza virus


inflammation of the larynx, or voice box, and can make speaking difficult

Legionnaires' disease

especially dangerous form of pneumonia caused by the gram-negative rod bacteria Legionella pneumophila

lower respiratory tract

part of the respiratory system that is contained entirely within the thorax—the part of the body between the neck and abdomen—and is made up of the lungs, bronchi, bronchioles, and alveoli

mucociliary escalator

barrier preventing infection that lines the lower respiratory tract, where cilia—microscopic hairlike cellular structures—rhythmically beat mucus up toward the throat


inflammation of the ear that typically presents with pain and is caused by various ear infections


sudden resurgence of severe symptoms during infection

respiratory system

collection of tissues and organs that allows for gas exchange, primarily by absorbing oxygen and releasing carbon dioxide


inflammation of the mucous membranes in the nose and presents with itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, and sore throat


inflammation of the sinuses, the cavities around the nose, causing facial pain and pressure

strep throat

inflammation of the throat that includes sore throat, fever, pus on the tonsils, and inflamed lymph nodes


inflammation of the tonsils, lymph nodes at the back of the throat, that is accompanied by throat pain


long-term respiratory infection caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, an airborne bacteria that settles in a person's lungs when they breathe, and symptoms include pain in the chest, a bad cough, and coughing up blood or phlegm

upper respiratory tract

part of the respiratory system that is contained in the head and neck, consisting of the nasal passages, sinus cavities, pharynx, and larynx