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Living With Viruses



This is a past exhibition.


Hall B, Mezzanine 

Typical time required:

30-60 minutes


Kindly note that this exhibition will closed from Monday, 2 June 2014 in preparation for new content and upgrading works.


Most of us have suffered from the effects of the flu at one time or another. The flu is an infection caused by viruses and like many other viruses, they spread easily through our offices, schools and homes. Viruses are responsible for many other diseases as well.  What makes us so vulnerable to them and what can we do to stop them from spreading?

Visit the ‘Living with Viruses’ exhibition and explore the delicate balance of the relationship between viruses, humans and other species that share a common environment. This exhibition also looks at the significant issues related to the causes and control of the worldwide spread of viral infections. Throughout the exhibition, selected viral diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Influenza, SARS, Hand-Foot and Mouth disease, Dengue, Smallpox, Hepatitis, Avian Flu and Polio are featured to illustrate larger issues of viral infection, treatment and prevention. 

Featured viruses



The Dengue virus is spread through the bite of infected Aedes mosquitoes. Singapore experienced its worst dengue fever outbreak in 2005, when more than 13,000 people fell ill and 19 people died from the disease. Find out how the Dengue virus is detected and what can be done to prevent the spread of the virus.


Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a disease caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus ( HIV). The HIV virus can remain in an infected person for long periods of time without causing any symptoms, which means that not everyone with an HIV infection will contract AIDS. Find out more about the HIV virus and what it does to the human body.




Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) is a respiratory illness caused by the SARS virus. The SARS epidemic shocked the whole of Asia in the year 2003. See the effects of this worldwide viral transmission and find out how the virus was brought under control.



Hepatitis simply means inflammation of the liver and is most often caused viruses. There are five known hepatitis viruses from Hepatitis A to E, but the most common ones are Hepatitis A, B and C. Learn more about the differences between these viruses and how you can avoid them.




Hand-Foot and Mouth Disease

The Hand-Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) is caused by either the coxsackie virus or the enterovirus 71. Most cases of HFMD in Singapore are caused by enterovirus 71. Both viruses are passed from person to person through direct contact.  In this exhibition, find out how easily they spread within the environment shared by children.



The influenza virus causes flu infections which are normally more severe than common colds. There are three main types of influenza viruses; type A the most common, B and C. Learn more about the various strains of the Influenza virus that has plagued mankind over the years.

Avian Flu

Type A viruses are responsible for both the bird flu and the swine flu which have become a problem in our world today. Find out how these viruses can spread from birds to humans and what can be done to prevent this.





Polio is a highly infectious disease caused by the poliovirus. In the 1950s, polio affected many children worldwide, but an effective vaccine has since brought this problem mostly under control. Today, vaccinations against polio have become routine in most countries except India, Pakistan and Nigeria. Find out more about this disease and the success of vaccination in controlling its spread.



Smallpox is a disease caused by the highly contagious Variola virus. Luckily for us, the smallpox virus has been put to a stop by mass vaccinations in the past. Learn more about Edward Jenner’s discovery that led to the worldwide smallpox vaccination programme.



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