offers hundreds of practice questions and video explanations. Go there now.

Sign up or log in to Magoosh TOEFL Prep.

English for Medical Professionals, Part 4

This is our latest post on English for medical professionals. Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 explored some common medical vocabulary. Today, we’re going to look at the English names for some specific diseases that medical professionals may encounter and treat.


The rotavirus is a virus that causes stomach problems, including vomiting and diarrhea. (See English for Medical Professionals, Part 3 for the definitions of virusvomit, and diarrhea.) The rotavirus is most likely to infect children. This makes the virus potentially dangerous. Children get dehydrated (see Part 2 for the definition of dehydration) much more easily when they vomit or have diarrhea. And dehydration can be life-threatening in kids, especially in infants and toddlers. (See Part 1 of this series for the definitions of infants and toddlers.)

Norwalk virus

The Norwalk virus, sometimes called the norovirus, affects children and adults about equally. It’s the most common cause of diarrhea and vomiting in the United Sates, and in most other countries. The Norwalk virus is also a potential cause of dehydration in children.


The adenovirus is a respiratory illness— a sickness that affects the lungs, throat, and other body parts that are used for breathing. Most adenovirus infections are mild and not dangerous. But infants and toddlers suffer from worse symptoms, compared to older patients. (For the meaning of symptoms, see Part 2 of this series.)

e. coli

E. coli is short for escherichia coli, a kind of harmful bacteria. (See Part 3 for the definition of bacteria.) Harmful e. coli bacteria are found in spoiled or unclean food, and can be swallowed accidentally. E. coli can cause bad stomach problems and diarrhea. This can ultimately lead to dehydration.


Salmonella is another kind of harmful bacterial. And like e. coli, salmonella often enters the body through food poisoning. (For the definition of food poisoning, see Part 2 of this series). This kind of bacteria is most likely to infect children. It can cause digestive problems, including diarrhea, for weeks or months.

Why this is important

If you are hoping to work in a hospital or clinical setting in the Untied States, the importance of these terms should be obvious. You’ll need this vocabulary to diagnose your patients with many common types of sicknesses or disorders. (For the definition of disorder in the medical sense, see Part 1 of this post.)

But even if you aren’t a medical professional, these terms can be useful. If you, your family, or your friends are having medical problems, knowing how to describe them in English is very valuable– in the English-speaking world, this skill can even be a life saver in some cases.

Also, all of the vocabulary in these last four posts will be part of some upcoming English activities for medical professionals, right here on the Magoosh TOEFL blog. You’ve probably already noticed the vocabulary words from the last few posts “coming together” in today’s post.

Get at higher TOEFL score with your free Magoosh trial Most Popular Resources   * TOEFL Lessons  <><noscript><img class=

No comments yet.

Magoosh blog comment policy: To create the best experience for our readers, we will only approve comments that are relevant to the article, general enough to be helpful to other students, concise, and well-written! 😄 Due to the high volume of comments across all of our blogs, we cannot promise that all comments will receive responses from our instructors.

We highly encourage students to help each other out and respond to other students' comments if you can!

If you are a Premium Magoosh student and would like more personalized service from our instructors, you can use the Help tab on the Magoosh dashboard. Thanks!

Leave a Reply