Influenza virus was first isolated and confirmed in a laboratory diagnosis in the year 1932. The infection was identified by the known signs and symptoms and the nature of the outbreaks. Many vertebrates are prone to influenza infections, but influenza IAV, IBV, and ICV infect humans. Influenza-type IAV can mutate and produce strains that are well adapted to humans, thus lowering immunity. The influenza virus A, B, and C are highly transmitted human respiratory pathogens. The human influenza virus infects the airway epithelium, also known as the respiratory epithelium. Scientists describe the influenza virus as an invariable disease because a variable virus causes it.
The shedding of the virus begins after one day of being infected and peaks as the symptoms progress. The main symptoms include high fever, headaches, muscle pain, and exhaustion (Potter, 2001). The severity of the infection occurs due to secondary infections or increased pulmonary pressure and respiratory illness. The influenza virus epidemic is very spontaneous and infects many people for weeks or a few months and disappears. The virus radiates from various glycoproteins known as haemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA). The antibodies in these proteins compare to the immunity, and the mutation of the glycoprotein haemagglutinin leads to a variant virus called antigenic drift. Influenza epidemics can be handled by monitoring the antigenic variation and incorporating prevalent strains into current vaccine designs (Potter, 2001). The world health organization is responsible for monitoring the influenza virus variation tests. WHO has therefore commissioned research laboratories globally to monitor the changes in the virus, how they occur, and the spread of the infection. Epidemics occur during cold seasons and higher humidity and within crowds of people. The epidemics are characterized by increased hospitalization of older adults with bronchopneumonia, leading to deaths of the elderly with chronic heart or metabolic disorders or lung diseases. The number of deaths from influenza is relative to that of the infected people (Potter, 2001). Even though there is a vaccine, only the groups of people who are at risk are vaccinated because immunization does not affect the epidemic
A pandemic of the influenza virus suddenly appears in a specified geographical area spreading through the world, thus infecting millions of people and leading to many deaths. The influenza virus A is the main cause of a pandemic (Potter, 2001). A different Type of haemagglutinin from that of influenza virus circulates before the spread of the pandemic. Influenza A virus contains one of the dissimilar molecules of haemagglutinin; therefore, the influenza virus’s immunity is related to the antibody of the haemagglutinin. There have been outbreaks of influenza pandemics from 1700, but the scariest and vivid infection in medicine’s history was “The Great Influenza” of 1918. The pandemic cannot be traced to a specified geographical area because research points to the origin from china, and the outbreak occurred simultaneously in other parts of North America and South Carolina in march 1918( Kolata, 2001). The virus became more prevalent within a short period of time, infecting many people and causing many deaths. During this period, the outbreak was reported in Germany, thus affecting the war. In June 1918, the pandemic reached Britain, spreading rapidly circling back to Africa. The infection was so widespread during this time leading to more deaths in 20-40 years. The third and second wave of this pandemic occurred between 1919 -1920infecting 50% of the world’s population leading to a low mortality rate (Kolata, 2001). According to reviewers, all the pandemics are suggested to have originated from China, Russia, and Asia, and the probability of the pandemic arising from this area is very high.
At least 10% of the general population is affected by seasonal influenza, which leads to the deaths of up to one million people all over the world Layne, et al, . 2009). several methods of curbing the influenza virus-like vaccines and matching the prevalent strains have been put in place. The pandemic virus arises from the human and avian viral strains. The economic impact of influenza leads to reduced productivity of caregivers and patients, which translates to increased medical resource depletion. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Centre for Immunization and Respiratory diseases concluded that more strategies for the vaccination of influenza need to be implemented to come up with effective immunization. Self-medication has led to the widespread use of over-the-counter drugs, which have led to influenza being a common disease. This is due to the virus getting used to medications that are not usually full dose. Although over-the-counter drugs are highly discouraged, for the influenza pandemic, they tend to play an important role in managing the symptoms of the virus (Layne et al, .2001). People who are at risk of contracting influenza should avoid over-the-counter drugs before consulting a physician because influenza has in many cases be a symptom of a more serious disease. Over-the-counter prescription-only relieves symptoms related to influenza-like headaches, body aches, and fever. High intakes of water and these prescriptions can lead to self-treatment; therefore no need to access healthcare assistance, however, self-medication leads to re-infection, and one person may tend to infect other people.
Those who are prone to high risk for influenza complications include children below 2 years and adults above 65 years of age. A weak immune system and certain medical conditions like liver, blood, metabolic, heart liver, kidney diseases, and chronic lung diseases like asthma and pulmonary diseases may result in high risks of contracting influenza. The number of people in a family is a great determiner for the infection because each person will interact with different people and groups (Klepser, 2013). In the USA, the virus spreads in January and February, which is likely to cause more cases in the wider region or national level, which leads to more infections and a high number of deaths. Out of 61 million Americans, 15 million of the population contract influenza every year, which varies from one year to another. Results from the disease burden analysis based on 2003 US population demographics and data from the National Centre for health statistics survey 1980-v2001, US indicated that the influenza cases were consistent to approximately 31.4 million outpatient while 334,185 people were hospitalized. Those who were hospitalized and many deaths were above 65 years of age. A study by the Centre For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found out that above 200,000 people in the USA were in the hospital for influenza-related complications every year; this information was published in the American Medical Association’s journal in September 2004. The American lung association concluded that influenza with pneumonia strains was among the leading cause of death in people above 65 years, and the trend was rising from time to time.
Diagnosis of the influenza virus is based on the symptoms shown by the patient and a physical examination. Physical diagnosis is mainly made when influenza is at its peak. Influenza is characterized by various symptoms like headaches, chills, dry cough, myalgia exhaustion, and eye redness (Klepser, 2013). In children, they will experience nausea, vomiting, gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea. One has to be careful while diagnosing influenza because other illnesses like colds, sore throat, acute mononucleosis, bacterial pneumonia, asthma, bacterial meningitis, and encephalitis tend to mimic influenza symptoms. Influenza can result to life-threatening complications like pneumonia (Klepser, 2013). During the influenza period, the virus diagnosis should be mandatory to anyone showing symptoms such as fever and respiratory signs in both children and adults. This was according to the Infectious diseases Society of America (IDSA). Influenza virus symptoms start between 1-4 days when the virus enters the body, and adult transmission happens 1 day before the symptoms become severe and up to 7 days of the infection (Klepser, 2013). Children can transmit influenza infection for more than seven days after the infection. Primarily influenza is transferred from droplets of coughing, sneezing, or talking to an infected person. Influenza is amongst the acute respiratory infections (ARIs), a strain of disease s including respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and pneumonia. It is, therefore, difficult to distinguish influenza from ARIs and RSV, but it is a crucial process. It should be done clinically in the laboratory to detect the respiratory syncytial virus to avoid misdiagnosis.
Vaccination is the most crucial tool in the prevention of the influenza virus. The vaccine should be created and modified each year depending on which strain is more predominant (Klepser, 2013). Vaccination is admitted annually in the USA for children above 6 months; for older people, vaccination is not mandatory, but they are advised to get the pneumococcal vaccine. Between 2013 and 2014, 13 influenza vaccines include nine trivalent and four quadrivalent with each trivalent formulated to protect against three influenza strains (Klepser, 2013).in the USA, United Kingdom, France, and Canada. Studies showed that vaccination was cost-effective in the elderly (Klepser, 2013).over the years’ data collection and public health analysis, experts concluded that vaccination was very beneficial to healthy adults.
In conclusion, many concerns have arisen from the treatment vaccination and use of over-the-counter drugs. Inappropriate use of antibacterial creates drug resistance. In the USA, people aged 5- 49 years with influenza were found to have antibacterial infections. Therefore it is important to increase hospital availability in remote and rural areas to avoid self-medication and vulnerability to new infections.
Potter, C. W. (2001). A history of influenza. Journal of applied microbiology, 91(4), 572-579.
Michael E klepser. (2013, August 24). Socioeconomic impact of seasonal (Epidemic) Nursing and Medicine influenza and the role of over-the-counter medicines. PubMed Central (PMC). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4149741
Layne, S. P., Monto, A. S., & Taubenberger, J. K. (2009). Pandemic influenza: an inconvenient mutation. Science (New York, NY), 323(5921), 1560.
Kolata, G. (2001). Flu: the story of the great influenza pandemic of 1918 Simon and Schuster.