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Influenza A: Pandemics And Epidemics Essay

1786 words - 7 pages

Title
Influenza is a serious some time deadly disease that has global circulation and occurs yearly from the late autumn to the early spring and is most commonly referred to as the flu (Bridges, CB. 2002; Rüttimann, R. W., Bonvehí, P. E., Vilar-Compte, D., Isturiz, R. E., Labarca, J. A., & Vidal, E. I., 2013; Pleschka, S., Ludwig, S., Planz, O., & Wolff, T. 2009). There are three genera of influenza: A, B and C (CDC, 2014; Duncan, D 2013). Influenza A and B are the most common infections, furthermore A is more severe than B (CDC, 2014; Duncan, D. 2013). This paper will focus on influenza A as it is the most been responsible for epidemics and pandemics in humans and animals throughout history (Pleschka, S., Ludwig, S., Planz, O., & Wolff, T. 2009).
Etiology
Influenza A is a virus from the Orthomyxoviridae family that contains three species that were discussed above (Baumen, R. 2014; Duncan, D. 2013; Pleschka, S., Ludwig, S., Planz, O., & Wolff, T. 2009). Influenza is a disease that rarely attacks cells outside the lung and is there for classified as respiratory disease (Baumen, R 2014). Influenza A illness is caused by the influenza A virion that is made up of eight different negative single stranded RNA (ssRNA) molecules enclosed by a pleomorphic lipid envelope studded with two types of prominent glycoproteins spikes made of hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) (Baumen, R. 2014; Bridges, CB. 2002; Pleschka, S., Ludwig, S., Planz, O., & Wolff, T. 2009). These glycoproteins divide influenza A in to subtypes; there are eighteen different HA and eleven different NA (Bridges, CB. 2002).
Mode of Transmission
The flu is transferred from infected person to susceptible person by air born droplets from a cough or sneeze of the infected person that get into the air and are inhaled by another person (Monto, A. 2009; WHO, 2014). Influenza A can also be transferred by contact because it can survive on hard nonporous surfaces such as a counter top or door handle for 24-48 hours therefore can be transferred to the next person that touches that surface (Duncan, D. 2013; Monto, A. 2009).
Risk factors
For health individuals becoming infected with influenza A is not of great concern, as they will completely recover in a few weeks (Duncan, D., 2013; Schutten, M., van Baalen, C., Zoeteweij, P., Fraaij, P., 2013). However for high risk groups like people over the age of 65, children under two years old, people that are immunocompromised, pregnant, or obese can experience severe problems as a result of being infected by the flu (Schutten, M., van Baalen, C., Zoeteweij, P., Fraaij, P., 2013). People with these risk factors can experience complication such as: acute respiratory distress syndrome, septicemia and multiple organ failure (Schutten, M., van Baalen, C., Zoeteweij, P., Fraaij, P., 2013). Because the flu is a respiratory disease it can aggravate underlying medical conditions that effect the respiratory tract (Duncan, 2013). Duncan (2013) sites the...

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