Talking About Viruses in Spanish

In this lesson, we practice expressing the following in Spanish:

  1. Getting a viral illness
  2. Passing a viral illness to someone else
  3. A positive test result
  4. Being contagious 

Check out our many free lessons covering Covid and Flu.

Many thanks to my Spanish teachers, Gloria from Mexico and Elizabet from Guatemala, for their help on this lesson!  >> Take classes with Gloria and Elizabet!

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Common Viral Illnesses


el virus respiratorio sincitial
el virus respiratorio sincicial (alternative, not in audio)
RSV, respiratory syncytial virus,

el Covid

la influenza

la gripe / la gripa
a bad cold, or flu

un resfriado
a cold

To catch a virus


Me dio influenza.
Mi dio gripa.
I got the flu.

This is an example of using DAR as a reverse construction verb to express getting an illness or symptoms. See our free lesson covering this use of the verb DAR: DAR to Express Symptoms

Me pegó la influenza.
I got the flu.

In this example, PEGAR is also used as a reverse construction verb, just like DAR above

Me contagié de gripe.
Me contagié de influenza.
I got the flu.

Challenge Interpretation


A la pobrecita de mi hija, le pegó el virus respiratorio sincitial en la guardería.
My poor little daughter got the respiratory syncytial virus at daycare.

la pobrecita de mi hija
my poor little daughter

la guardería

el virus respiratorio sincitial
RSV, respiratory sincitial virus

Internaron a mi abuela porque se contagió de Covid.
They admitted my grandmother because she got Covid.

to admit 

To transmit a virus


To transmit a virus using PEGAR y CONTAGIAR to express transmitting a virus from one person to another.

Surprisingly, most Spanish speakers do NOT use the verb DAR in this way. DAR can be used to say you caught a virus (Me dio gripe.) but not that you transmitted a virus.


Mi hermano me pegó la influenza.
My brother gave me the flu.


Mi hermano le contagió el Covid a mi abuela.
Mi hermano le contagió de Covid a mi abuela.
My brother gave my grandmother Covid. 

Test Results


Di positivo por / en / a la / de / para influenza.
I tested positive for influenza.

Positive refers to EL RESULTADO. It is like saying,
"I got a positive result." > “Di (un resultado) positivo. 
You will also hear, "Di positivo en la prueba de.... " 

Being Contagious


Ser contagioso / contagiosa / contagiose
to be contagious

Todavía soy contagiosa.
I am still contagious. (woman)

No creo que sigas siendo contagiosa.
I do not think you are still contagious. 

Note the use of the SUBJUNCTIVE following a statement of doubt. Learn more about this use of this subjunctive: Quiz #2 – The Subjunctive in Noun Clauses. Spanish Grammar members, see: Subj06 Disbelief Denial – Uncertainty

    • Hola, Laila.

      ¡Gracias por el comentario!

      You are positive for Covid.

      Usted ha dado positivo en / por / para / al / de Covid.
      Usted ha dado positivo en la prueba de Covid.

      See also: Detección – Testing for COVID19 in Spanish

      You will be contagious for 10 days.

      Será contagioso/a durante 10 días.

      And since we do not know with certainty how long they will be contagious, I may say:

      You may remain contagious for up to 10 days after the onset of symptoms.

      Puede seguir siendo contagioso/a hasta 10 días después del inicio de los síntomas.

      See also: FL03 Flu Q and A – Symptoms and Transmission

      Espero que te resulte útil mi respuesta. Gracias de nuevo por tu comentario, amiga.

      Un abrazo,


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