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Wart: A local growth of the outer layer of skin caused by a virus. Warts that occur on the hands or feet are called common warts. Genital (venereal) warts are located on the genitals and are transmitted by sexual contact.

Warts, genital: Warts confined primarily to the moist skin of the genitals due to viruses belonging to the family of human papilloma viruses (HPVs) transmitted through sexual contact. Most infected people have no symptoms but these viruses increase a womanís risk for cancer of the cervix. The virus can also be transmitted from mother to baby during childbirth. HPV infection is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States. It is also the leading cause of abnormal PAP smears and pre-cancerous changes of the cervix in women. There is no cure for genital warts virus infection. Once contracted, the virus can stay with a person for life.

Wart, venereal: The same as a genital wart.

Wasp stings: Stings from wasps and other large stinging insects such as bees, hornets and yellow jackets can trigger allergic reactions varying greatly in severity. Avoidance and prompt treatment are essential. In selected cases, allergy injection therapy is highly effective. (The three "Aís" of insect allergy are Adrenaline, Avoidance and Allergist.)

WBC: Commonly used abbreviation for a white blood cell.

Werner-His disease: Named for the German physician Heinrich Werner (not the Werner of Wernerís syndrome) and the Swiss physician Wilhelm His, Jr. (who described the bundle of His in the heart). See Fever, Wolhynia.

Western blot: A technique in molecular biology, used to separate and identify particular proteins. Called a Western blot merely because it has some similarity to a Southern blot (which is named after its inventor, the British biologist M.E. Southern).

White blood cells: White blood cells (WBCs) are cells which circulate in the blood and lymphatic system and harbor in the lymph glands and spleen. They are part of the immune system responsible for both directly (T cells and macrophages) and indirectly (B cells producing antibodies) attacking foreign invaders of the body.

White matter: The part of the brain that contains myelinated nerve fibers. The white matter is white because it is the color of myelin, the insulation covering the nerve fibers. The white matter is as opposed to the gray matter (the cortex of the brain which contains nerve cell bodies).

Whooping cough: Also known as pertussis, this is a feared infectious disease that can strike the respiratory system and affect other organs of the body. It has three stagesóan initial stage with watery runny nose and eyes, a progressive cough stage with characteristic (sometimes severe) coughing spells, and (if the dhild survives) a recovery stage. The disease may last for 2-6 weeks. Therapy is supportive and many young infants need hospitalization if the coughing becomes severe. Immunization with DPT (diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus) vaccine provides protection. With pertussis, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure (or, if you are metrically inclined, a gram of prevention is worth a kilo of cure). Have your child immunized!

Will, living: A living will is one form of advance medical directive. Advance medical directives preserve the personís right to accept or reject a course of medical treatment even after that person becomes mentally or physically incapacitated to the point of being unable to communicate those wishes. There are two basic forms of advance directives: (1) a living will, in which the person outlines specific treatment guidelines that are to be followed by health care providers; (2) a health care proxy (also called a power of attorney for health-care decision-making) in which the person designates a trusted individual to make medical decisions in the event that he or she becomes too incapacitated to make such decisions. Advance directive requirements vary greatly from one jurisdiction to another and should therefore be drawn up in consultation with an attorney who is familiar with the laws of the particular jurisdiction. (This entry is based upon material from the National MS Society).

WNL: Within normal limits. A laboratory test result may for instance be WNL.

Wolhynia fever: Trench fever, a louse-borne disease first recognized in the trenches of World War I, again a major problem in the military in World War II, seen endemically in Mexico, N. Africa, E. Europe, and elsewhere. The cause, Rochalimaea quintana, is an unusual rickettsia that multiplies in the gut of the body louse. Transmission to people can occur by rubbing infected louse feces into abraded (scuffed) skin or outer layer of the whites of the eyes (conjunctiva). Onset of symptoms is sudden, with high fever, headache, back and leg pain and a fleeting rash. Recovery takes a month or more. Relapses are common. Also called shin bone fever, quintan fever, five-day fever, Meuse fever, Hisí disease, His-Werner disease, Werner-His disease.

Wordprocessorís cramp: A dystonia that affects the muscles of the hand and sometimes the forearm and only occurs during typing or wordprocessing. Similar focal dystonias have also been called writerís cramp, pianistís cramp, musicianís cramp, and golferís cramp.

Writerís cramp: A dystonia that affects the muscles of the hand and sometimes the forearm and only occurs during handwriting. Similar focal dystonias have also been called typistís cramp, pianistís cramp, musicianís cramp, and golferís cramp.

Wry neck: Medically called spasmodic torticollis, or torticollis. The most common of the focal dystonias. In torticollis, the muscles in the neck that control the position of the head are affected, causing the head to twist and turn to one side. In addition, the head may be pulled forward or backward.

Wt: Weight. Wt 80 lbs = weight 80 pounds.

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