Epidemiology Of Influenza Essay

1537 words - 7 pages

Epidemiology of Influenza


As we welcome the winter season every year, we also welcome the possibility of various communicable diseases that are prone to present during the winter season. Diseases such as pneumonia, measles, chickenpox, and influenza are some of the diseases that make their annual debut during the winter season. These diseases affect certain parts of the body in which compromise ones health in one way or the other. Influenza is a communicable infectious viral disease which has the potential to occur as a pandemic, epidemic, or outbreak. Each year the influenza vaccine is offered in order to prevent and/or lessen the effect of the disease. In this paper the ...view middle of the document...

Influenza type C causes mild respiratory illness. According to the CDC, the type of the virus depends on the surface protein present on the virus (CDC, 2014). Types A and B are responsible for the seasonal epidemic of the disease every winter. Influenza type A can be broken down into subtypes and strains based on two different proteins on the surface of the virus known as the hemagglutinin (H) and the neuraminidase (N). The difference in the surface protein determines the variation of the disease (CDC, 2014). In 2009 a new strand of the type A influenza surfaced called H1N1 which was different from the human influenza virus that was infecting humans at the time. This new strand of influenza caused the first influenza pandemic in over 40 years as reported by the CDC (2014).
Transmission of the influenza virus from human to human can happen in three ways: infection can result from direct contact with others who are infected, contaminated objects and lastly by a person inhaling viral particles in the air, aerosols. The smaller the particles are the higher they are able to suspend in the air and in the same manner, the smaller the particles are, the lower they can go into the respiratory tract to cause infection. This is how pneumonia may result from the infection (CDC, 2014). According to Smith and Maurer, the amount of agent which is known as the infective dose needed to produce illness can vary. The more infective the agent is the less exposure required to produce illness (2009). The higher the virulence of the microorganism, the more potent. The determinants of the disease are based on the exposure to the microorganism. Anyone can contract the flu by coming in contact with an infected person or object. Practice in hand washing is a major part of prevention of the spread of such microorganisms. Factors that contribute to the spread of influenza is not practicing hand washing, infected individuals not covering their mouth while coughing or sneezing, and contaminated objects easily accessible to others in the environment.
Influenza is a respiratory illness that comes on suddenly. Influenza virus is different from the common cold. Signs and symptoms of influenza may include but is not limited to fever, chills, coughing, sore throat, muscle and body aches, fatigue and vomiting and diarrhea (CDC, 2014). Vomiting and diarrhea more often presents in children and not in adults. Sometimes there are complications induced by the influenza virus. As previously mentioned, influenza is a respiratory illness which means that there is impact on the lungs. When many people are infected with the flu virus medical attention and medication is not requires because the illness passes within a few days to two weeks.
Sometimes there are complications of contracting the virus. Some of the complications include but are not limited to pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus and ear infections. Complications of influenza can lead to hospitalization and even death in some...

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