The Influenza Virus : Viral And Contagious Disease Essay

Good Essays

The influenza virus, also known as the seasonal flu, is a viral and contagious disease that was once recognized as one of the most devastating illnesses in global history. From 1918 to 1919, an estimated 500 million people worldwide fell sick with this illness and killed nearly 10%. In the United States, 675,000 Americans died during the pandemic, suffering from fever, body aches, nausea, and other impacting symptoms with little opportunity for treatment. First observed in Europe, flu outbreaks swept through parts of Asia and South America, Africa, and North America. At first, scientists like Robert Koch, believed that the cause of influenza was a bacterium called Haemophilus influenzae, but eventually discovered it was viral. Nonetheless, there were no effective treatments that helped kill the viral strain or prevent its spread. At the time, people were ordered to wear masks, and public entities like schools were closed for an extended period of time. Even today, there are very few methods of remedy other than rest, fluids, and staying warm. One drug that was approved by the FDA in 1999 that treated for influenza in adults was oseltamivir, or Tamiflu. However, it wasn’t put to use until 2005 in Southeast Asia when the H5N1 avian influenza epidemic erupted. Currently, Tamiflu continues to be used as the main drug for treating the flu. A downside to this medication, however is that it must be administered 48 hours within experiencing the first symptoms; otherwise it doesn’t

Get Access