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Appendix A: Glossary of Medical Terms - page 9 / 12





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Passive immunity - Providing temporary protection from disease through the administration of exogenously produced antibody (i.e., transplacental transmission of antibodies to the fetus or the injection of immune globulin for specific preventive purposes).

PCR - see below for polymerase chain reaction.

Percutaneous - Denoting the passage of substances through unbroken skin, for example, by needle puncture, including introduction of wires and catheters.

Perivascular - Surrounding a blood or lymph vessel.

Petechia, pl. petechiae - Minute hemorrhagic spots, of pinpoint to pinhead size, in the skin, which are not blanched by pressure.

Pharyngeal - Relating to the pharynx.

Pharyngitis - Inflammation of the mucous membrane and underlying parts of the pharynx.

Phosgene - Carbonyl chloride; a colorless liquid below 8.2°C, but an extremely poisonous gas at ordinary temperatures; it is an insidious gas, since it is not immediately irritating, even when fatal concentrations are inhaled.

Photophobia - Morbid dread and avoidance of light.  Photosensitivity, or pain in the eyes with exposure to light, can be a cause.

Pleurisy - Inflammation of the pleura.

Polymerase chain reaction - An in vitro method for enzymatically synthesizing and amplifying defined sequences of DNA in molecular biology.  Can be used for improving DNA-based diagnostic procedures for identifying unknown BW agents.

Polymorphonuclear - Having nuclei of varied forms; denoting a variety of leukocyte.

Polyuria - Excessive excretion of urine.

Presynaptic - Pertaining to the area on the proximal side of a synaptic cleft.

Prophylaxis, pl. prophylaxes - Prevention of disease or of a process that can lead to disease.

Prostration - A marked loss of strength, as in exhaustion.

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