Vaccine and Influenza Illness Essay

1230 Words Apr 7th, 2001 5 Pages
Grant Wade
April 22, 2001
Influenza
Influenza
Influenza, also known as "the flu," is a virus that infects the respiratory tract. Although Influenza is not as severe as many viral infections it is almost the worst for viral infections of the respiratory tract. Typically, when someone is infected with influenza they experience fever (usually 100° to 103°F in adults, but even higher in children) and causes a cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, and also headaches, muscle aches, and usually extreme tiredness. There are sometimes other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea but usually only in rare cases with young children. One other note: The term "Stomach flu" isn't really caused by the influenza virus.
The average
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This is called antigenic "drift." This process allows the virus to make a more stable change yet still evade the immune system. The second type of change is an abrupt change in the hemagglutinin and/or the neuraminidase proteins. This is called antigenic "shift." It isn't as stable of a change but if it does make a successful and complete mutation it can become so deadly that another pandemic. Although Type A viruses undergo both types of changes, Type B only go through the more gradual Type B.
Antigenic shift occurs only occasionally, but when it does large numbers of people or even entire populations have no antibody against the virus. Although this is potentially lethal, the virus can only start a pandemic if it is able to be spread easily. Throughout the 20th century there were three pandemics, one in 1918, one in 1957, and one in 1968. Each of which resulted in large numbers of deaths.
The 1918 pandemic was known as the "Spanish Flu" and was Influenza strain A(H1N1) and it caused the highest known influenza death rate known, 500,000 Americans and 20 million people worldwide.
The 1957 pandemic was known as the "Asian Flu" and was Influenza strain A(H2N2) and caused 70,000 U.S. deaths.
The 1968 Pandemic was known as the "Hong Kong Flu" and was Influenza strain A(H3N2) and caused 34,000 deaths in the U.S.
The emergence of the "Hong Kong Flu" in 1968-1969 marked the
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