We're living in a strange world, barely protected against the infectious, replicating agents called viruses. They may have gruesome effects on our bodies, but these viruses' microscopic world looks beautiful from close up — especially because researchers often add color to the images in order to study them more easily.

A colorized transmission of the MERS coronavirus that emerged in 2012.

Psychedelic Images of Terrifying Viruses

Psychedelic Images of Terrifying Viruses

(Photo by AP Photo/National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases via The Canadian Press and AP Photo/NIAID - RML)

Infectious particles of the avian H7N9 (bird flu) virus emerging from a cell

Psychedelic Images of Terrifying Viruses

(Photo by Takeshi Noda/Science/University of Tokyo/AP Photo)

Hepatitis B visions with Dane particles

Psychedelic Images of Terrifying Viruses

(via Microbe World)

Rubella or three-day measles (also known as German measles)

Psychedelic Images of Terrifying Viruses

(via Sanofi Pasteur)

The ultrastructural details of an influenza virus particle (virion)

Psychedelic Images of Terrifying Viruses

(via Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Public Health Image Library)

Infectious Bronchitis virus (IBV) virions

Psychedelic Images of Terrifying Viruses

(via Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Rabies virus (Rabdoviridae)

Psychedelic Images of Terrifying Viruses

(via Sanofi Pasteur)

Scanning electron micrograph of HIV-1 budding (in green) from cultured lymphocyte

Psychedelic Images of Terrifying Viruses

During the Cold War, the KGB started a disinformation campaign (named the Operation Infektion) that blamed the creation of AIDS on the CIA.

(via Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Public Health Image Library)

Ebola virus virion

Psychedelic Images of Terrifying Viruses

But why is it deadlier than some other viruses? We know the answer.Psychedelic Images of Terrifying Viruses

(via Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Public Health Image Library and NIAID)

Hepatitis A (HAV)

Psychedelic Images of Terrifying Viruses

(via Sanofi Pasteur)

The swine flu virus

Psychedelic Images of Terrifying Viruses

(via Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Smallpox virus pocks on the chorioallantoic membrane of a developing embryonic chick

Psychedelic Images of Terrifying Viruses

(via Trees of Life)

Dengue Virus (flavivirus)

Psychedelic Images of Terrifying Viruses

(via Sanofi Pasteur)

Colorized transmission electron micrograph of Avian influenza A H5N1 viruses (seen in gold) grown in MDCK cells (seen in green).

Psychedelic Images of Terrifying Viruses

And another bird flu is coming from Taiwan! It's called H6N1.

(via Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Public Health Image Library)

A number of Nipah virus virions that had been isolated from a patient's cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) specimen. This virus was isolated in 1999.

Psychedelic Images of Terrifying Viruses

(via Trees of Life)

Rabies virus after purified from an infected cell culture.

Psychedelic Images of Terrifying Viruses

(via University of Texas Medical Branch)

The Schmallenberg virus, initially reported in November 2011 to cause congenital malformations and stillbirths in cattle

Psychedelic Images of Terrifying Viruses

(via Jens Koehler/dapd/AP Photo)

The Rabbit Hemorrhagic disease, first described in 1984.

Psychedelic Images of Terrifying Viruses

(via Plospathogens)

Smallpox, under 370,000x magnification

Psychedelic Images of Terrifying Viruses

(via Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Public Health Image Library)

Various viruses from the Herpesviridae family: Herpes simplex Type 1 and 2 (HSV-1, HSV-2) and Chickenpox

Psychedelic Images of Terrifying Viruses

(via Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Public Health Image Library)

Bonus: This is how flu invades your body