The new virus of the Coronaviridae family, appearing towards the end of 2019, is causing serious consequences in various aspects around the world.
Given that this is a subject of vital importance at the present time, we’ve prepared a compilation of the most basic terms, for which we’ve included their meanings and translations into Spanish and Catalan. We have also specified a few aspects that tend to cause confusion among the population, such as the correct way to write some terms.
Loss of the sense of taste.
The passage of infection through the air.
ES: transmisión aérea
CA: transmissió aèria
Loss of the sense of smell.
A chemical substance that is capable of stopping the development of certain pathogenic microorganisms or is capable of killing them. Antibiotics do not work against viruses, so they are not effective against the coronavirus.
A protein that appears in response to stimulation by an antigen.
It refers to a person who shows no symptoms of a disease.
A group of confirmed cases of an infection concentrated in a well-defined area.
ES: conglomerado de casos
A healthy person who has shared space with a confirmed case of an infectious disease.
The action of tracing, in this case studying the contacts of an infected person to determine how and where infection occurred and thereby prevent a virus from spreading.
A family of viruses that can cause respiratory infections in animals and humans. Some examples of the virus of this family are SARS and MERS.
Acronym for the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. The acronym comes from corona virus disease, and the number 19 refers to the year in which it was detected for the first time (2019).
This refers to the spread of a disease in a country for a certain period of time while simultaneously affecting a large number of people.
A graph that depicts the number of cases according to the time during which a disease spreads. It is used to measure the speed at which infection from a virus is occurring.
ES: curva epidémica
CA: corba epidèmica
An abnormal grouping of cases of a disease in a certain place and time.
ES: brote epidémico
CA: brot epidèmic
Flatten/bend the curve
It refers to slowing down the increase in cases in an epidemic.
ES: aplanar la curva
CA: aplanar la corba
A social distancing measure that is applied to reduce the risk of infection from a person who is infected with a virus.
ES: aislamiento domiciliario
CA: aïllament domiciliari
The acronym for “intensive care unit”, which is the section of a hospital where patients who are severely ill and require continuous monitoring and care are admitted.
ES: UCI (unidad de cuidados intensivos)
CA: UCI (unitat de cures intensives)
A confirmed case in which a disease has been contracted outside of a country or region and has subsequently developed there.
ES: caso importado
CA: cas importat
Incubation / incubation period
The time that elapses between exposure to a pathogenic organism and the moment when symptoms first appear.
The first detected case of a disease in a population. Also called “patient zero”.
ES: caso índice/inicial
CA: cas índex
A confirmed case that has occurred due to community/local transmission.
ES: caso autóctono
CA: cas autòcton
An overload of information that is quickly spread in society. It comes from a combination of “information” and “epidemic”.
The period of development of a disease in which it is apparently not active because no symptoms are present.
Lockdown / confinement / shelter in place
The action and effect of confining or restricting something or someone within certain limits.
The rapid spread of a new disease globally.
The first detected case of a disease in a population. Also called “index case”.
ES: paciente cero
CA: pacient zero
The acronym for the term “polymerase chain reaction”. A laboratory test that is being used to identify SARS-CoV-2.
ES: PCR (reacción en cadena de la polimerasa)
CA: PCR (reacció en cadena per la polimerasa)
Preventive isolation during a certain period of time for the purpose of preventing infection. This period need not be of 40 days.
Acronym for “Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome”, which results from the coronavirus and causes the COVID-19 disease.
A set of diagnostic tests that are systematically performed on population groups for the early detection of a disease or a defect.
A method for detecting antibodies in blood.
ES: prueba serológica
CA: prova serològica
State of alarm
A legal measure that is adopted in Spain in the event of disasters, public calamities or health crises, thereby allowing the government to restrict free movement, take control of industries and limit or ration resources or services.
ES: estado de alarma
CA: estat d’alarma
A person whose capacity to transmit a virus is far above average.
A therapeutic preparation that promotes a specific response by the immune system. It is not a cure for a disease, rather it is applied to healthy people to prevent them from becoming infected.
The concentration of a virus.
ES: carga viral/vírica
CA: càrrega viral/vírica
Acronym for the World Health Organization.
ES: OMS (Organización Mundial de la Salud)
CA: OMS (Organització Mundial de la Salut)
A disease that can be transmitted between animals and humans and that is caused by a virus, bacteria, parasite or fungus.
ES: enfermedad zoonótica
CA: malaltia zoonòtica
– – – – – – – –
- RAE (2020). “Sobre la escritura del coronavirus” (online). RAE. <https://www.rae.es/noticias/crisis-del-covid-19-sobre-la-escritura-de-coronavirus>
- National Geographic (2020). “Glosario coronavirus: todos los términos que rodean el covid-19” (online). National Geographic. <https://www.nationalgeographic.com.es/ciencia/glosario-coronavirus-todos-terminos-que-rodean-covid-19_15314>
- Ésadir (2020). “Vocabulari del coronavirus” (online). Generalitat de Catalunya. <https://esadir.cat/entrades/fitxa/node/coronavirus_vocabulari>
- Tremedica (2020). “Glosario de covid-19” (online). Tremedica. <https://www.tremedica.org/tremediteca/glosarios/glosario-de-covid-19-en-es/>