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Comprehensive Dictionary of Virus, Flu, Infection and Decontamination Terminology

A Guide to Understanding Flus and Viruses and their Treatment


An antibacterial is any substance that serves as an active agent against bacteria. An antibacterial is a substance that destroys bacteria or suppresses the growth of bacteria. Heat, certain chemicals, and certain medicines and cleaners all have antibacterial properties.


An antimicrobial is simply an agent that kills microorganisms. Antimicrobial medicines are grouped based off the microorganisms that they act against. For example, antibiotics are used against bacteria, whereas antifungals are used against fungi.


ATP stands for adenosine triphosphate. ATP is a very common molecule that is present in many microorganisms. Disinfection crews, health inspectors, and medical experts use testing devices to examine a surface or environment to see if it has any ATP in it. If ATP is present, that means there are microorganisms in that environment. The contamination levels of the environment are determined based on how much ATP is present in the environment. While some degree of contamination is virtually always going to be present, certain levels of contamination won't pass health inspections.

ATP sampling swab

An ATP sampling swab refers to a long, thin, plastic rod with a swab attached to one end. This swab is used to test both dry surfaces and liquid environments.

ATP Testing

While it can be done in a number of ways, ATP testing refers to the efforts taken to examine an environment and analyze the ATP levels of that environment. This is done by swabbing multiple surfaces within the environment. For example, if one is performing ATP testing in a restaurant’s kitchen, they would test counterparts, cutting boards, cook ranges, pots, pans, utensils, wash sinks, etc.


Similar to antimicrobial, an antiviral substance is anything that acts against viruses. It might be a drug which helps tackle a virus in a sick patient, or it could be a sanitation product or cleaning agent used to disinfect a room or building of viral germs.


Bacteria, the plural form of bacterium, refers to a large family of unicellular microorganisms. Some bacteria, but not all, can cause disease. Some bacteria cause infection in humans. But other bacteria produce a beneficial result, as in fermentation or decomposition.

Bacteria culture test

A bacteria culture test is simply a process of analysis that determines if bacteria or other contaminants reside in a given environment. A bacteria culture test takes a sample of the environment (the sample is referred to as the “culture”) and tests that sample for potential contaminants.

Bacteria swab test

This is a form of bacteria test that uses a spongy or sticky swab device to test an area. The swab is rubbed on a surface to collect potential contaminants that might be on that surface.

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Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are parasitic insects that suck blood. Coincidentally, much of the same treatments that are used to treat bed bugs can be used to disinfect a home of viruses, bacteria, and other unwanted microorganisms.

Bird Flu

Bird flu is a serious, often fatal flu that originates in birds and which is transmissible to humans. Another name for bird flu is H5N1 or “avian influenza.” While this flu does not often transfer to humans, it is highly contagious when it does.

Biometric Screening

Biometric screening simply means a health assessment, usually of key health measures. Biometric screening involves checking temperature, examining blood pressure and breathing, and a few other tests to determine the health conditions of the individual being tested.


BTU stands for “British Thermal Unit.” It refers to the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. Most heating devices measure their output of heat in BTUs.


CDC refers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the federal organization responsible for monitoring diseases and certain health risks within the United States.

Cold Foggers

Cold foggers (unlike other types of fogging devices) do not use heat to emit a fog to kill pests with. Rather, cold foggers use an electric current to statically charge a mist, allowing the mist to cling to objects that it lands on. The use of cold foggers is a highly effective approach for disinfecting a home or building.

Corona disease

Corona disease refers to the illness caused by coronavirus (see below).


Coronavirus refers to any of a group of viruses that cause a variety of diseases in humans and animals. Coronavirus is a family of viruses, not just one type of virus.

Coronavirus (Novel)

The Novel Coronavirus refers to the new strain of coronavirus first reported on in December of 2019. At the time of this writing, coronavirus is an entirely new strain of virus for which there is no cure or vaccine.


Coronaviridae is another wording of “coronavirus” with the same meaning, i.e. a strain of viruses, all of which have harmful effects, particularly in the respiratory systems of both humans and animals.


CoV is simply another shortening/abbreviation for coronavirus.


COVID-19 is short for "coronavirus disease 2019.” It is the official name given by the World Health Organization to the disease caused by the newly identified coronavirus strain.


A disinfectant usually refers to a chemical-based liquid that destroys bacteria, viruses, and other microscopic organisms.

Disinfectant Bomb

A “disinfectant bomb” is a fogging device. Usually this device appears in the form of a thermal fogger or misting disinfectant device. It may be a one-time use item, or it could be an an electric device capable of several uses. The common denominator of a disinfectant bomb is that it is “set off” and that it emits a blast of disinfecting mist, eradicating germs, bacteria, viruses, etc.


Dysentery is a serious infection of the intestines. Side effects include severe diarrhea with the presence of blood and mucus in the feces. Dysentery is spread by coming into contact with food or water that has been contaminated by fecal matter.

Electrostatic Misting

Electrostatic misting is a special disinfection process by which an electrostatically charged mist is sprayed onto surfaces. Because the mist is so charged, the mist sticks to any surface it is sprayed towards. This allows for effective and lasting sanitation of the area.

Environmental Sanitation

Environmental sanitation can refer to a variety of processes. The idea behind environmental sanitation is to use physical science principles and knowledge to improve the conditions of the environment people live in, all to protect and preserve the health and welfare of the public. Wastewater treatments plants are an example of environmental sanitation in progress.


If a product or service is EPA-approved, that means the product or service bears a label or certification saying that it should not pose a risk to your health. EPA approval comes from the Environmental Protection Agency.


An epidemiologist is someone who specializes in the branch of medicine wholly focused on the incidence, distribution, control, and prevention of disease.


“Flu” is simply a term that is short for “influenza.” A flu can refer to any of a number of viral diseases, usually diseases which affect the respiratory or digestive systems.

Fogger machines

Fogger machines refer to any of a number of devices used to disinfect an environment. Foggers emit a fine mist that is populated by disinfectant chemicals. The mist permeates an enclosed space, whether it is a room, house, office building, warehouse, hospital, etc. Because the mist permeates every square inch of the environment, foggers are highly effective at eliminating all strains of viruses or pathogens in an environment.


Fomites refer simply to objects which are likely to carry germs, such as clothes, utensils, furniture, door handles, etc.


A germ is a relatively universal term. It can essentially refer to any type of microorganism that can cause a disease. That includes viruses, bacteria, pathogens, etc.

Health scan

A heath scan refers to any type of analysis or test that is used to gauge the health condition of an individual. Taking someone’s temperature could be referred to as a health scan.

Hospital-grade disinfectant

Hospital-grade disinfectant refers to the highest-quality disinfectant available. Hospital-grade disinfectants meet stringent requirements for quality because they are intended for use in sanitizing hospital rooms. Vital Oxide, also defined in this glossary, is an example of a hospital-grade disinfectant.

Hygiena EnSURE Touch

The Hygiena EnSURE Touch is a specialized device that is used to test any surface or liquid for potential contaminants. This device tests for ATP, a molecule found in most viruses, pathogens, bacteria, and other, unwanted germs. (See the definition of ATP in this glossary for more information).


Influenza is a highly contagious, viral infection of the respiratory passages. Influenza can cause fever, severe aching, respiratory difficulties, etc. Though influenza is usually non-fatal, it can often occur in epidemics and pandemics and it can create a severe strain on public health officials.v

>Isopropyl alcohol

Isopropyl alcohol is a colorless, flammable chemical compound. Because of its highly caustic nature, isopropyl alcohol is often used as a disinfectant.


MERS-CoV stands for Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus. (See below for a full definition).

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)

Middle East respiratory syndrome is a novel coronavirus. The virus originated from Saudi Arabia in 2012. The illness primarily attacks the respiratory system and, while it is treatable, about 35 percent of those who have contracted the illness have died from it.


Anything that is microbe-focused is something that directs its attention or energies to the microbal nature of a substance. For example, a microbe-focused cleaning or sanitizing agent will be one that can eliminate harmful substance on a microscopic level, be those substances bacteria, viruses, germs, etc.


A microorganism simply refers to any type of organism, usually unicellular, which is extremely tiny and which requires a microscope to view it. Fungi, spores, bacteria, and viruses are all microorganisms.

Mucous membrane

A mucous membrane is any part of the body that is lined by a semi-permeable membrane. Some such membranes excrete mucous (or a mucous-like substance) to protect the membrane. Examples of mucous membranes include the protective layers in and around the eyes, nose, throat, and genitals.


A nanodroplet is a very small measurement of liquid. For example, most fogging machines used in disinfection will split one droplet of water (already a very small amount of water, not even the size of a thumbtack) into 900 nano droplets. Nanodroplets are so small they cannot be seen by the naked eye.

Non-corrosive disinfectant

A non-corrosive disinfectant is simply a disinfectant cleaning agent that is not harmful to humans or pets. While some heavy-duty cleaners and sanitization liquids shouldn't come into contact with the skin, eyes, or mouth, a non-corrosive disinfectant is one which has cleaning potential but which can be breathed in or touched with no harmful effects. Fogging with a cold fogger is one example of the use of a non-corrosive disinfectant to sanitize an environment.


OSHA stands for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. It is the federal organization in charge of ensuring that workplaces are safe and nonhazardous.


A pandemic refers to a disease that is prevalent in not just an isolated area, but which is present across the world.


A pathogen refers to any microscopic organism that can cause disease or illness. Viruses, bacteria, and germs are all pathogens.


Pesticides are chemical substances, usually in liquid or gas form, which either kill or deter unwanted insects, animals, or microorganisms. Pesticides usually have agricultural applications.


Pneumonia refers to an inflammation of the lungs caused by a bacterial or viral infection. When someone contracts pneumonia, the air sacs of their lungs fill with pus and may become solid, severely restricting breathing and potentially leading to death.


Polio refers to an infectious and viral disease that severely affects the nervous system and which can cause temporary or permanent paralysis.

PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)

PPE refers to any type of protective gear worn to prevent the wearer from being exposed to germs and contaminants. PPE are usually made of plastic or another form of non-permeable material. PPE include face shields, gloves, goggles and glasses, gowns, head covers, masks, respirators, and shoe covers. Such items help prevent the transmission of pathogens, viruses and bacteria, allowing the wearer to safely work in germ-rich environments.


Protozoa refers to any single-celled, microscopic organism that is a part of the animal kingdom “Protista.” Protozoa organisms can (but don’t always) carry viruses or bacteria.

Rubbing alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is simply a liquid solution that contains about 70% isopropyl alcohol.


A sanitizer is any substance, usually a liquid or a gel, that can kill germs, pathogens, viruses, and bacteria. Common sanitizers include liquid hand sanitizer, cleaning liquids, soap, etc.


SARS-CoV is another name for the coronavirus. SARS refers to the viral respiratory illness that is caused by a coronavirus strain.

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)

SARS is an infectious disease with symptoms including fever, cough, and, in advanced stages, pneumonia and respiratory failure. SARS is caused by a coronavirus and, while treatable, does have the potential for lethal consequences.


Sporicide is a chemical agent, diluted in water, that is designed to eliminate the presence of spores. Spores refer to growths like fungi and other plant organisms.


Sterilize is a verb which means to make something free from bacteria, germs, contaminants, or other living organisms. Most cleaning agents seek to sterilize an area or room.


Staph refers to a bacteria that causes pus formation in the skin and mucous membranes. While a staph infection usually begins on the skin, it can migrate to the internal organs and can infect the heart, brain, and other areas of the body.

Swine flu

Swine flu is a respiratory illness of pigs caused by infection with swine influenza. While swine flu does not usually transmit to humans, it can do so. Once a human is infected with swine flu, that illness can then transmit to other humans very easily. The most common swine flu virus is H1N1, a novel influenza which caused a pandemic in 2009.

Thermal Imaging

Thermal imaging refers to any process by which heat is measured and displayed on a screen. In heat treatments offered by B.D.D.S., thermal imaging is used to measure the temperature of rooms that are being subjected to high heat. This allows technicians to determine when rooms have been hot enough and for long enough to kill all viruses, pathogens, bacteria, and germs within those rooms.


Tuberculosis is an infectious disease primarily characterized by the growth of nodules (called “tubercles, hence the name) on the lung tissue.

ULV Fogger

A ULV fogger is an Ultra Low Volume fogger device that uses large volumes of air at very low pressures to transform liquid into droplets that are then dispersed into the atmosphere of an enclosed space. ULV foggers are particularly useful in treating a home or business for insect infestations or viral contamination.


A virus is an infective substance, usually a tiny microscopic organism. it is not able to multiply or subsist unless it resides within the living cells of a host.

Viral infection

A viral infection simply refers to an illness caused by the presence of a virus.

Viral Organisms

There is some debate on whether or not a virus is a “living organism.” The entities are so small that they cannot survive unless they reside within a living host body. However, viruses do exist and manipulate living tissue by their mere presence alone, hence the viewpoint of “viral organisms.” An example of a viral organism is the current novel coronavirus that is spreading across the world.


Viricide (also spelled virucide) refers simply to any substance which can kill or eradicate viruses.


A virologist is a specialist who studies the formation, development, and spread of viruses, all with a special focus on how to reduce and prevent the spread of such organisms.

Vital Oxide

Vital oxide is an EPA-registered (approved by the Environmental Protection Agency) hospital-grade disinfectant and cleaner. It is very common and very useful in disinfecting environments of bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens.


WHO is an acronym for the World Health Organization (defined below).

World Health Organization

The World Health Organization is an international agency established to improve the health of the world’s people. One of the primary missions of the WHO is to prevent and control the spread of communicable diseases.

Wuhan, China

Wuhan is the capital city of the Hubei province in the People’s Republic of China. The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) originated from this region in 2019.

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