National Influenza Immunization Program - The Swine Flu of 1976

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In 1976, due to an outbreak of influenza at Fort Dix, New Jersey, the United States set a precedent in immunology by attempting to vaccinate the entire population of the country against the possibility of a swine-type Influenza A epidemic. While a great many people were successfully immunized in a very short period of time, the National Influenza Immunization Program (NIIP) quickly became recognized as a failure, one reason being that the feared epidemic never surfaced at all. But this massive undertaking deserves more analysis than just a simple repudiation. For example, all evidence linked to the pathology, microbiology, and historical cycle of influenza and the outbreak at Fort Dix suggests that the reactions of the scientists and other…show more content…
(Silverstein: 13) There are three types of influenza, depending on their activity: type A, which is usually the cause of outbreaks; type B, which is linked to sporadic cases, and type C, which rarely causes disease reactions. (Silverstein: 54) The virus which causes influenza enters the host through the respiratory tract, and binds itself to epithelial cells. The virus causes the cell to engulf it by endocytosis, and then fuses to the wall of the endocytic vesicle, injecting the contents of the virus into the cytosol of the cell. The RNA of the virus enter the nucleus of the cell, and spur the creation of new copies of the genes. These genes, as well as new viral proteins that are created in the cell, leave the cell as fresh viruses, budding off the plasma membrane of the cell. While Scientists still do not know a great deal about the communicability of influenza, they do know that it can be spread by human-to-human contact, and has some airborne stability. (Silverstein: 59) Specifically, the characteristics of the influenza at Fort Dix was extremely discouraging. First of all, it was very similar to the 1918 swine influenza A pandemic, which turned out to be one of the most lethal outbreaks of disease in recorded history, and one victim had already died. Also, while usually this disease is caused by exposure to pigs, it was obvious that this was the

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